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Z.Z. Wei (b. 1957)



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Z.Z. Wei was born Zhao Bai Wei on September 26, 1957 in Beijing, China. He graduated from the Central Institute of Art and Design in Beijing in 1984. In 1989, Z.Z. was invited by the Washington State Centennial Commission to participate in the Pacific Rim Cultural Connection Project and to be a resident artist at Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, Washington. This led to another residency in 1991 at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. The following year, he was honored with the Western States Arts Federation (WEST AF)/NEA Regional Fellowship for Visual Artists. Then, in 1993, Z.Z. had an exhibit at the Charles and Emma Frey Museum, Seattle, WA.

During this time, Z.Z. exhibited work outside of the Northwest by participating in the Autumn Salon, Paris; the "New Form" Chicago International Exhibition; "First Exhibition of Modern Art", Beijing, China; and the Los Angeles International Art Fair. Upon his first arrival to the Northwest, Z.Z. Wei could not believe the beauty spread before him. His first experiences in the Pacific Northwest were visual revelations. Feeling completely liberated from the stringent boundaries placed on him since birth, he embarked on an artistic odyssey in a quest to paint powerful images of rural America.

The melancholy meandering through the backroads of the Northwest countryside has set a strong tone for collectors throughout the international art market. A misty street, a rolling wheat field, a falling leaf, shadows dancing across the side of a barn, and an old car on a lonely road are all images conveyed by Z.Z. with such vigor and vitality that the spiritual nature of their simplicity come to the fore. In the years since Z.Z. arrived in Washington, his journey of discovery has been focused upon not only painting the Northwest but on becoming a true Northwest artist. In viewing the paintings of Z.Z. Wei and feeling the warmth of their expression, one wonders whether he has adopted the Pacific Northwest as his homeland, or has it adopted him as its laureate.