Xiao Jiang's first solo exhibition in New York, “Continuous Passage”, will open on November 9 local time at Karma. Located at Karma’s 188 and 172 East 2nd Street locations, the exhibition will remain on view through December 21.
Xiao grew up in the mountains of Jinggangshan, located in China’s rugged Southeastern interior. Now he lives in Shanghai, more than six hundred miles away. Xiao returns to the land where he grew up through memory and paint.
Mountains Beyond Mountains
230 x 510 cm｜麻布油画，分三部分 Oil on burlap; in three parts｜2022
Studio scenes and natural settings, while at times blended, are for the most part distinct in his work. For his natural scenes, Xiao works from personal photographs and from memory: in particular he is inspired by the way that color changes with distance. The natural world is rendered in angular, near-abstract geometric arrangements, while interiors contain a expansiveness akin to mountainscapes.
Burlap, a rough, fibrous material favored for its durability and practical uses, is a preferred surface for Xiao’s oil paintings. Like a rugged, steep road, its friction compels one to move slowly. Burlap stubbornly asserts its fibers in the texture of the paint. For Xiao, burlap forces his process to slow down, a quality he matches in his compositions, in which muted colors are heavily layered, therefore imperceptible to an impatient eye. In life, too, Xiao prefers to move slowly, making space for introspection and subtlety.
200 x 300 cm｜布面油画 Oil on canvas｜2022
In Studio Scene (2022), a stack of canvases bisects an interior striped by shadow and light. A woman reads in the corner of a room, the edges of which have all been rendered in red. A window exposes a mountain scene, where a small figure, clutching a hiking stick, peers back—behind him, a path leads into the folds of green mountains. Through the window, Xiao allows memory to collide with direct observation: the result exists only in his imagined world, in which his studio in Shanghai is transported to the mountains of Jinggangshan.
A Corner of the Studio
120.02 x 100.66 cm｜布面油画 Oil on canvas｜2022