Chinese, born 1971
Landmark Arts and Cultural Exchange Company Collection
"The land and cityscapes of Gao, Xiaofei (b. 1971, Anhui) also demonstrate the evocative brushwork of literati painting, while the impasto oil paint and brooding colors of expressionism convey contemporary experience and a dark, personal mood. In land and cityscapes, dark blacks and browns dominate, capturing the grit and pollution of the city as well as the “melancholy mood of female artists” such as herself. The blurred, broad lines and uneasy angles of buildings imply the dynamism and disruption of rapid urban modernization.
While Gao’s landscapes relate to others in the exhibit, she is also known for her distinct figurative works. Gao speaks of a need to express the emotions of female experience which seem to be suggested in these works. Figures are painted without faces, some rounded and stylized like nesting dolls or folk figurines, while others look as if derived from faded photographs. Painted in minimal colors, these scenes suggest memories and time passing. A couple on the beach, a group of children, and a protective family unit of a mother, father, and child dressed in robes evoke the bonds of family and tradition. Lacking distinguishing details, the figures are deliberately generalized to express universal emotions like love and sadness so that, according to the artist, any identity can be projected onto the figures. As in Gao’s landscape paintings, emphasis is placed on the formal choices of color, placement, and brushwork to express the mood and concept."
-Margaret Richardson, Ph.D., Department of Fine Arts and Art History, Christopher Newport University