Ant Sutra: Puny Wisdom

Danzhu Hu

Rainy Zhang

Exhibition Dates:
November 30 - December 10, 2023

Opening Reception:
Thursday, November 30th, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

:iidrr Gallery is pleased to announce the solo exhibition “Ant Sutra: Puny Wisdom” on view from November 30th to December 10th. This exhibition is curated by Danzhu featuring an eclectic collection of artworks by visual storyteller Rainy Zhang,  across various media, encompassing oil paintings, colored pencil drawings, digital prints, and ceramics. 

Rainy's work, softly rendered in pastel colors, brings to life an adorable and enchanting land teeming with mythological-like sentient creatures, where she subtly infuses her reflections on religion, life, death, psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. Her colored pencil collection, ‘Fermented Seed,’ celebrates the firework-like existence of periodical cicadas, which typically endure 17 years of transformation underground, only to live for a fleeting month. In this collection, the artist explores the subtle spiritual bond between humans and these insects. 

The structure of Rainy's work often incorporates a sense of ritual and mythology, filled with vibrant imagination. Upon closer examination, one can discern the undercurrent of opposing forces oscillating through her work. Rainy’s art charms the viewer with a sweet aroma of dreamy and poetic cuteness while leaving an earthy scent of otherworldly eccentricity in the air. In ‘Apotheosis,’ the artist illustrates the tale of a sacred rock revered by humans, that was once uplifted to divine status, only to be later forgotten and abandoned by its devotees. “The story may not have a specific meaning; it's okay, regardless of your interpretation,” Rainy states.

In her work ‘烧,’ the Chinese character symbolizing burning, Rainy challenges cultural conventions and revitalizes cultural symbols. In traditional Chinese funerals, people would burn paper-made objects known as paper effigies as offerings to their departed loved ones. Over time, the artistry of paper effigies evolved, becoming increasingly intricate and opulent. However, due to the taboo surrounding the topic of death in traditional Chinese culture, these exquisite crafts are often viewed with hesitation by many. By creating her world of paper effigies, the artist aims to challenge the unfortunate cultural undertones and celebrate the brilliant artistry behind them.

Rainy's work truly resembles a cabinet of wonders, evocative of kaleidoscopic cultural influences, where Swedish folk art meets medieval triptych painting, and kawaii manga characters meet Chinese paper effigies. With the guise of the sweet kaleidoscope, Rainy finds shelter in a more delicate manner of self-expression, especially her dialectical, critical, and sarcastic parts.

‘Ant Sutra: Puny Wisdom’ is curated by Danzhu Hu, a visual artist and independent curator based in New York City. This exhibition will be on view from November 30 to December 10.

About Yushan (Rainy) Zhang:

Born in Shenzhen, China, Yushan (Rainy) Zhang is a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist who specializes in visual storytelling. After earning her BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, Rainy continued her artistic journey by obtaining her MFA in Illustration Practice at the Maryland Institute College of Art.


Danzhu Hu (b.1997) is an award-winning visual storyteller, with a primary focus on illustration and fine art painting. After graduating with a B.E. degree, she received her master’s degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology, MFA Illustration program.

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