The University of Waterloo Library is pleased to reintroduce Imaginarium — a place devoted to inspiring and realizing new artistic, scientific and philosophic pursuits. Each month of the winter 2021 term will feature one Imaginarium artist. Please enjoy this virtual exhibition.
Ni Zhan is our artist of the month for March. Her work is a beautiful watercolour painting that captures the whimsy and beauty of the pansy flower. Ni says she was inspired by the pansy because "it is a humble little flower that benefitted from having someone see its potential. Our ideas are the same way. I hope everyone can take inspiration from the things that can be accomplished through cultivating with imagination."
Ni focuses on creating honest pieces that allow viewers the opportunity to take away something from her work of honest self-expression. She describes this as "kind of amazing."
The Pensée is a study of live fabrics used to create new flowers. The watercolour painting is embellished with construction paper which gives the viewer a rich experience to take in this expressive piece. To imitate a gilded leaf, Ni used a pinprick texture to imitate Victorian handicrafts.
It's always interesting to explore how artists find inspiration to create their works. Ni was inspired by the story of the pansy and the pioneering works of Lady Mary Elizabeth Bennet and William Richardson. She found these works inspiring because of its early story of invention. As Ni says, "I do a lot of drawing and painting off the top of my head, but I think it takes great imagination to see the possibilities of what could be from something that simply exists in nature."
This work will let your imaginarium fly!