Xiao-yang Li: Cultivated Chaos
25 September - 2 November 2019
Xiao-yang Li’s recent paintings carry a host of reference and association. A composite of graphic ability, exuberant colour, and painterly happenstance creates a particular approach to two and sometimes three-dimensional work that is both familiar and unique. Li studied graphic design, film-making and photography in both Beijing & London. Later, in London, when looking at work by Francis Bacon and Frank Auerbach, for instance, she had a change of heart and decided to study painting. A love for late Titian, or Piero Della Francesca, a constant love of Oskar Schlemmer for exactly the opposite and the same reasons represents the perennial painter’s pull between the painterly and graphic. Perhaps even more crucially, Li looks to Picabia, for ‘the way he keeps changing’ his transgressive graphic approach, painted modelling, and ability to influence and shape an anti-directional, formal advance in Modernism.[...]
Much of her recent work comes out of, or is influenced by, a ten-week residency at the new Museo Leonora Carrington, in San Luis Potosí, México. There is also always, a nostalgia for the kind of place, which can appear only though the active process of making a painting: nostalgia for the unknown. So metaphorically, the artist not only looks at water and represents it, but is also actually swimming in it.[...]
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