The Visions of Xia Chieng at the Janus Gallery

Titled “Visions of an Aspie“, this grand display of art by Xia Chieng at The Janus Gallery is extremely engaging and a fitting example of how art can transform lives for the better.

When I came across Xia’s exhibition at the Janus Gallery, I was immediately reminded of an article I had read some time ago about John Truitt, a local artist and businessman from Texas, who is using his art to raise awareness about Asperger’s syndrome, a condition which affects a person’s ability to socialize and communicate effectively. I remember reading in the article that while coming to terms with his diagnosis, Mr. Truitt found a relaxing outlet in art and eventually used it to raise awareness about the syndrome. An echo of something similar resounds in Xia Chieng’s art.

That being said, this is technically not my first encounter with Xia Chieng’s work. I must say I have been smitten by her art ever since I chanced upon it at the Covenstead Art Gallery last month. The collection there was limited to a few pieces, so I was extremely delighted to see that in her exhibition – “Visions of an Aspie” at the Janus Gallery, she has displayed a much larger quantity of work, thus giving us a deeper insight into her mind and her life.

Presenting a wide range of works created in the physical world, “Visions of an Aspie” is a stunning display of the emotions, feelings and situations that Xia wants to communicate but is unable to put into words.

In her introductory notecard, Xia states:

My condition makes me face life as a continuous challenge. Rejection, misunderstanding, intolerance have been present throughout my life and have led me to become elusive and lonely.

But it is through art that Xia was able to find a way to express her thoughts and has continued to do so till date. It is in art that she find a way to understand herself and transcend what torments her.

A majority of Xia’s works are self-portraits, not of herself in the physical world, but of her avatar in the virtual world. The keyhole, which is clearly visible in most of the works on her forehead, is representative of Xia trying to look for answers that will lead her to a better understanding of her own mind. Well, that is my interpretation of the work at least. Again, as with all great artists, many visitors will find a completely different meaning and context to the artwork presented at the Janus Gallery.

Portraying a wide range of emotions from happiness to sadness, from the heights of hope and positivity to the depths of darkness and depression, Xia’s mesmerizing portraits offer us a glimpse into her mind as well as several aspects of her life in RL. Xia sees artistic creation as a tool for self-transformation and healing. It is her way to establish a dialogue with her own internal demons and those of our culture, a means to create her own myths with which she moves through the world.

Created using oil and watercolor mainly, Xia Chieng’s art and all the beautiful details in it draw you in and a visit to this fascinating exhibition is almost like a wander through Xia’s mind with us getting a look at the thoughts and emotions embedded deep within the work. Most of the art is wide open to interpretation, which can surely range across a really broad spectrum.

While we can all discuss and ponder over the many interpretations and techniques used in Xia Chieng’s art, there is no doubt that “Visions of an Aspie” brings to the fore a set of works by a reclusive artist whose view of the world around her is truly unique. Some of the work is surely on the darker side, take for example “I was a Suicide Girl” or “Memento Mori“, but that is always the nature of life. There are good times and then there are bad times. It is all about how we face up to the worst challenges life throws at us and rise up from the ashes.

Despite going through dark times in her life, Xia managed to find solace through art. Thus, this exhibition is also a testament to the power of art and the many people whose lives it touches and enhances in the world. “Visions of an Aspie” is a powerful, emotional display of art that will linger in your mind for a long time after your visit.

TELEPORT TO EXHIBITION

Be there for the opening TODAY at 11 am SLT with the music of Bsukmet and DD!