Vincent Xeus, ‘Show Business’, 2014, Gallery 1261

Artist Statement:

"Show Business" is the centerpiece of a painting series that explore my life-long connection to "images." From mundane to iconic, the images portrayed by society contributed to the development of my visual instinct and, to a larger extent, my worldview as an individual. One of my most impactful childhood memories was watching classic foreign films. Those moving pictures, in contrast to the post Chinese Cultural Revolution context I was born in, planted seeds in me to explore distant places later in life. The iconic and yet familiar imageries carry astonishing nuisances such as pride, fear, vanity, and humor.

At first glance of "Show Business," one may notice the composition balanced by the golden triangle. A closer examination reveals the intricate dynamics between the three roles in the painting, namely the noble artisan in the middle; the seemingly indifferent master mind to the left; and the amusing anonymous clinging to the right. This "balance" captures many familiar structures in society at large. Different nations, for instance, oftentimes coexist in such a triangular framework of attracting and opposing forces. "Show Business" gives audience an opportunity to reflect upon the visual impact of the painting, and one shall continue to discover points of interests, contrasting colors, and interlocking shapes through the layers of paints and extractions.

The Antique Tribal Mask, once used for rituals of harmony in North Africa, inspired the bold color palette as well as the marriage of realism and abstraction in this painting series.

About Vincent Xeus

Vincent Xeus’s atmospheric portraits are driven by a reverence for Italian and Dutch Old Master paintings as well as a desire to challenge classical constraints. “I loved their traditions and I had an equally strong desire to break away from it,” he has said of 16th- and 17th-century artists. “This conflict gave me struggle, and the struggle kept painting alive for me.” After immigrating to the United States from China to pursue a career in architecture, Xeus shifted his focus to oil painting. In portraits of historical figures, cultural idols, and personal friends, Xeus combines traditional techniques such as impasto and chiaroscuro with bold strokes and idiosyncratic details that disrupt otherwise classical compositions. In his “Fragmented Traditions” series, paint splatters interrupt diaphanous dresses, passages of color slide off faces, and outlines are diffused by an all-over dappled effect.

Chinese-American, b. 1981