top of page

My painting practice explores map-making as a way of painting to focus on Chinese market gardens as marginal, layered landscapes that visualise Australia’s rich multicultural histories and their impact in reshaping the local environment and the concept of place. Appropriating Google maps and historical socio-cultural reading of the local landscape, my practice challenges the limitations of the Western landscape tradition to envision a multi-perspectival form of topographical representation to express the diverse cultural communities entangled with the place.


My current project focuses on Chinese market gardens in Sydney and regional NSW, in which local indigenous and colonial histories were embedded with the physical characteristics of these marginal, low-lying, densely farmed zones in the local ecosystems. Inspired by the composite view of Google Maps that combines aerial view and street perspectives, I create work transforming geographic features of these gardens as intertwined colours, forms and patterns using the methods of Chinese landscape painting and abstract expressionism in diverse media. My mark-making consists of poured paint and gestural brush marks to develop an integrated mapped space of individual works arranged into a dynamic installation view. 


Through this process, I seek to embrace a culturally diverse position of place within the expanded field of painting, in which landscape can express living memories while simultaneously embodying an artistic process of understanding the nuanced social and cultured landscape in which we live.

Mei Zhao
bottom of page