Anybody who first meets Zhenya Xia would be quickly charmed by her. Her penchant for nature, her youthful love and loss, and her defining moment of discovering the true self while studying business in Paris–her stories are familiar, yet unique.
Standing in front of “Ya”–one of the most ironic of her works, I was pulled into the playful and deeply liberating world she created through the geometric fragments – each one of them carefully constructed using acrylic and mixed media. The duckling emerges out of the frame as we look into the painting, drawing us back to the most beautiful childhood dreams–simple, intimate and colorful. Xia said that she prefers the cartoonish expression of the subconscious. She translates her intellectualism into imageries of objects: Flowers, trees, and animals populate her art world. These colorful imageries, in their un-mistaken confidence and certitude, bespeak the psyche of a modern woman – one that asserts her dreams and desires without embarrassment nor arrogance.
Xia believes that life experience, good or bad, is intrinsically joyful. Art does not need to overcome life, rather it is the conduit of the joy of life – it redefines life in new terms. To expound on the philosophy of joy essential to her art, she quoted Pierre-Auguste Renoir: ” a picture should be pleasant, cheerful and pretty”. It doesn’t matter whether we realized that she omitted Renoir’s original intent for art which is to create something that makes up for the unpleasantry and ugliness of life. Xia’s art simply lets her subconscious mind speaks, which is loud and clear: out of the mathematically balanced lines that we fear to tread, out of the tensions between logic and freedom, sense and sensibility, there emerge the most beautiful things.
Xia’s works are available from HG Contemporary