Artist Interview with Xiao Wang

Artist Interview with Xiao Wang

Born in China and based in Brooklyn, artist Xiao Wang received his BFA from the Glasgow School of Art and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.  In November we launched "Slumber Under a Shade", a hand-embellished limited edition print to benefit City Harvest, New York City's largest food rescue organization.

Slumber Under a Shade, 2021, Hand-Embellished, Signed, and Numbered Limited Edition Print

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Recently we had the pleasure of sitting down with the artist to discuss his practice which includes combining dramatic, moody color palettes with a realist approach in figurative painting.

We asked Wang to tell us more about "Slumber Under a Shade”

Wang: “This particular piece was finished this past summer 2021. This piece is part of a collection of works that explored Goya's “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monster”, a satirical etching which expressed Goya's concern over the political atmosphere of his time.

Wang's work channels a similar feeling of anxiety, in a current era riddled by tension arising from rapid social and cultural shifts, environmental crises, and ideological uncertainties.

When asked about his influences, Wang said: “Conceptually, post enlightenment art has influenced much of my work. I think a lot of my artwork shows subtle changes in history and the psychological impact on the psyche. Visually, my concepts come from romanticism and the impact cinematography has on the narrative of my work. I am interested in presenting a constructive scene in my artwork as opposed to telling a precise story.”

When viewing the works around the artist's studio, moons, people and hands are recurring motifs. We asked him to elaborate on these. Wang said, “I paint either myself or people I’m familiar with. In a lot of cases I paint my friends or my partner. With the moons, I'm interested in taking a symbol with a traditional strong meaning and use it slightly different over and over again in my work. For example, I’ve started exploring moons in my pieces to try and create new meanings to them in my artwork. I love painting hands even though they are one of the harder elements of the figure to paint. That is part of the reason I enjoy painting them, they pose a challenge for me each time. I also feel like hands are a very sensual part of the body and show a certain aspect of personality other than just facial expressions.”