At the very first glance, Xie’s sizeable canvasses look like the kind of crass abstractions that routinely fill the walls of galleries in need of a cashflow injection. A moment later – and this says nothing of the work’s commercial allure – they reveal a clef, a code by which one finds that they are, in fact, portraits of figures lost between brushstrokes, renders, and planes.
Looking at these paintings is a little like wearing an augmented reality headset over only one eye: here is the figure, here is the artefact. This one is lost in a canvas within a canvas. Another one you only know from a laptop screen. That one is how you’ll dream when your data plan runs out.