More than meets the eye
This story was featured in the May 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
From the popular movie Star Wars to glorious photographs depicting Lower Manhattan, Vincent Xeus grew up dreaming about coming to America. Xeus was among the first generation born after the Cultural Revolution in China. In spite of the fact that change was in the air, he became convinced that the United States was the best place to chase his lofty dreams, he says. During high school he visited California, toured the University of California at Berkeley, and eventually decided to apply. He was accepted and graduated in 2006 with high honors and a bachelor’s degree in architecture. Today the California-based artist is applying his creativity to figurative painting, and he is chalking up a number of invitations to prestigious shows and other honors, including a top award at the Artists Guild Juried Show held earlier this year at Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ.
The artist’s chiaroscuro style is rem iniscent of paintings by 17th-century Dutch masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer. But Xeus is quick to point out that there are other strong influences at play, such as works by contemporary masters Gerhard Richter, Odd Nerdrum, Francis Bacon, and Antonio López Garcia. Figurative works have always engaged his artistic eye because of his interest in the human condition, Xeus says. “It’s always emotions and intuitions that lead me to the choices I’ve made in my life,” he says. “I think we are made of every event we’ve encountered and every person we’ve met. Nothing captures those journeys and meanings in the direct and true ways that human forms can.”
If his haunting paintings seem a bit mysterious at first glance, that’s as Xeus intends. He creates each painting with many layers of paint that symbolize the layers of truth and meaning he invites the viewer to discover. One of the goals for each painting that leaves his easel, he says, is for the artwork to be a gateway into the subconscious for others. “My intent is to reveal that which is beneath what we think we see,” Xeus says. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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