Xiaohong Zhang was born in Hubei, China. She received her MFA from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 2002. She is an Associate Professor in Art Department at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Xiaohong Zhang's works have been displayed in over 40 shows in Canada, Japan, Scotland, China, as well as California, New York and Philadelphia in the U.S. Her works have been included in consecutive Wisconsin Triennial juried exhibitions in 2007 and 2010 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art in Madison, Wisconsin. She is a prizewinner of "The Moment At Hand” juried international competition in 2009 at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Kohler, Wisconsin. Her works in "The Moment At Hand" show were also featured in a well-recognized professional Magazine, “Ceramics Monthly” in February 2009. In 2009 Zhang was accepted to the juried competition "Current Tendencies” as one of ten artists from Wisconsin at Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She also won an Honorable Mention Award in the “Circling the Globe Through Women’s Lives” international juried competition.
In summer 2008 Zhang received the prestigious International Kohler Arts/Industry Residency Award. Three of her art pieces have been on permanently collection at the Michael Kohler Art Center.
Zhang specializes in large-scale northern Chinese style paper cutting. As an artistic tradition, paper cutting dates back to the sixth century making it one of the oldest art forms in China. She started to use scissors to cut different symbols with great joy when she was a child and then graduated to working with blades and cotton acid free paper to make her own paper-cutting pieces. Since 2007 she started to blend the traditional paper cutting with digital printing on Japanese rice paper. By combining paper cutting, a Chinese art form dating to the sixth century, with stylized depictions of contemporary consumerism and aesthetics, Zhang’s work explores the powerful impact of Western cultural dominance on Chinese society.
Zhang emigrated from China to the United States in 1997, and her experiences as a first-generation immigrant inform much of her work, which often interrogates historical and cultural themes from a Chinese perspective. The artist also addresses the complexities inherent in straddling two distinct cultural worlds.