Published: Aug 13, 2010
Exhibition features recent paintings from three ongoing series by Shanghai native and SCAD alumnus Caomin Xie
"Mandala #11" by Caomin Xie
HONG KONG — SCAD, the most comprehensive art and design university in the world, presents "The Still Within," a solo exhibition featuring paintings from three ongoing series by Shanghai native and SCAD alumnus Caomin Xie (M.F.A., painting, 2001), at SCAD Gallery, 2/F, 30-32 Wyndham St., Central. The exhibition is free and open to the public now through Oct. 16.
"The Still Within" highlights Xie's paintings that manipulate digital media and use intricately repetitious patterns and designs to draw attention to the act of image making in its various forms. Blurring the lines between painting, photography and motion graphics, Xie depicts the complexities inherent in contemporary technology and identity as conveyed via unique interpretations of cultural references such as Buddhist mandalas and Chinese opera facial makeup.
Xie's bold, evocative work takes an in-depth look at how media and painting have evolved in the dialogue of contemporary art. Xie employs the theme of metonymy, or the representation of one object or concept for that of another, throughout the three series. Rather than simply mimic video or computer screens his complex paintings instead provide a conceptual link between painting and digital artwork.
"If painting is comprehended as a productive practice, we cannot differentiate much among painting, photography or motion graphics. All of them are the same as image producing. Image producing is desire's practice as metonymy and metaphor," said Xie.
In Xie's "Thousands Buddha" series, the artist offers his interpretation of Buddhism's beliefs of the infinite universe and the self as microcosmos. Every element featured in the series' paintings exhibit finitude and infinitude. According to Xie, these elements not only appear in a long-term contemplation, but in a short glance.
Paintings from "The Ruins' Mandala" series convey Xie's interpretation of the Buddhist concepts of creation, maintenance, destruction and emptiness. He drew his inspiration from the Buddhist sand paintings known as mandalas, in which different colored sands are processed like pictures changing in a temporal kaleidoscope. "It reflects the relationship between happenstance and the eternal return of the whole universe," noted Xie. "Not only can we search for information about universal existence in the detail of chance, we can also find contingent chance in the existence of the whole universe. When we are confronting the stupendous creative and destructive powers of today's technology, for me, the mandala is the best visual metaphor of our world."
"The Facial Makeup of Chinese Opera" series is a result of the artist's thoughts on the question of cultural identity. According to Xie, the makeup used in Chinese opera provides the link yet blurs the reality between the actor's own identity and that of the character he or she is representing. In essence, it is the makeup that creates the character but destroys the actor's own identity, allowing a man to portray a woman and a youth to play an elder. "It is not a representational depiction of a natural subject, but a revelation of its creative nature through its splitting from its signifier as subject," said Xie. "The demonstration of the facial makeup of Chinese opera is a jeering overturn of the essentialism."
Xie, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the China Academy of Arts and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from SCAD, is a noted painter who has exhibited his work around the world. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Rx Gallery in San Francisco, California; Gallery 55 in Shanghai, China; and Ethan Cohen Fine Arts in New York. His work also has been featured among group exhibitions with the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.; Red Gallery in Savannah, Georgia; Galerie Barthe & Senarclens in Geneva, Switzerland; and Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai, China. His work was recently included in the July 2010 issue of "New American Painting #88" and he is the recent recipient of 2010-2011 MOCA GA Working Artists Project from The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia where he will have a solo show this fall.
SCAD Gallery presents rotating exhibitions of the very best work by SCAD students, professors, alumni and renowned visiting artists whose talent is shaping and giving rise to new creative dialogues about contemporary art and design. SCAD Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
SCAD is bringing U.S. digital media education and career preparation to Hong Kong and Asia with the opening of SCAD Hong Kong in September. SCAD Hong Kong courses of study are registered with the Hong Kong Education Bureau. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. For more information, visit www.scad.edu/hongkong
Media inquiries may be directed to Flora To
at 852 2523 7666.