This painting portrays a man illuminated by faint lights and the full moon shining through a cloudy night sky. The composition references how the moon in Chinese is a symbol associated with both “home” and the feeling of being “homesick.” In this work, the artist aims to explore his personal relationship with his distant home and homeland—while reflecting on the shared identities and psyche of other Chinese and Chinese Americans. The artist uses his signature realistic style, strong contrast and melancholic blue palette to heighten the tension between quietness and the anxiety lurking behind the scene.
Xiao Wang paints constructed scenes that are often inspired by and sourced from real life settings. The artist's compositions combine dramatic and moody color palettes with a realist approach. Wang’s work evokes feelings of uncertainty and anxiety through their use of uneasy figures, distorted colors and uncanny landscape elements—drawing attention to the psychological burdens brought on by many of the issues of the contemporary moment, including climate change and political unrest. Many of the artist's paintings draw from his perspective as a Chinese immigrant who is navigating through the experience of being trapped between two worlds.
The visual style of Wang’s work recalls romanticism, the symbolist movement and magical realism. Through an engagement with historical artworks—particularly post-Enlightenment work—that reflect rapid social and cultural historical change, the artist's work explores both the personal and the collective psyche in our current chaotic moment.
Xiao Wang’s figurative paintings combine dramatic and moody color palettes with a realist approach. The artist primarily uses oil paint, frequently taking inspiration from real life in works that recall romantic, symbolist and magical realist paintings. Wang’s compositions depict uneasy figures and uncanny landscapes in distorted colors, exploring feelings of uncertainty and anxiety resulting from contemporary issues—including climate change and political unrest—as well as the artist’s own experience as a Chinese immigrant.
Xiao Wang was born in China in 1990. The artist received a BFA in painting and printmaking from the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland and an MFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in California.
Solo exhibitions of Wang’s work have taken place at: Deanna Evans Project in New York City (2022); Java Street Project in Brooklyn, New York (2021); and Glass Rice in San Francisco, California (2019 and 2017).
Group exhibitions that have shown Wang’s work have taken place at: PM/AM in London, UK in 2022; F2T Gallery in Milan, Italy in 2021; SPRING/BREAK Art Show in New York City (2021); Deanna Evans Project in New York City (2021); The Border Project in New York City (2020); Root Division in San Francisco, California (2019); StARTup Art Fair in San Francisco, California (2016); and NordArt in Büdelsdorf, Germany (2016); among others.
Wang’s work was featured in publications such as Booooooom (2021 and 2019), Hyperallergic (2021), Juxtapoz Magazine (2021), Hi-Fructose Magazine (2019), Create Magazine (2019) and New American Paintings (2017).
Wang was a winner of the Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Award from the San Francisco Foundation in California in 2014. The artist was a nominee of the SECA Award from SFMOMA in San Francisco, California in 2016.
Wang attended artist residency programs at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts (2019); the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont (2018); and Root Division in San Francisco, California (2015).
Wang lives and works in New York City.
This painting portrays a man illuminated by faint lights and the full moon shining through a cloudy night sky. The composition references the symbolism of the moon in Chinese, a reflection of the artist’s relationship with home and identity.More