Xinyi Cheng’s paintings, with their unexpected color and compositions, often begin with her own observations, whether an interaction she witnessed or an image from a film that lingered in her mind. Her subjects, which often include strangers, friends, animals, or still lifes, convey a wide range of emotions and sensations including intimacy, alienation, peacefulness, or unease. In Cheng’s words, “My paintings are about different aspects of desire and human relationships. I paint situations that are based on my memories or imagination.”
The works in the exhibition range in scale and format from the small Nude Girl with Gloves, Otto Dix (2022), an intimate depiction of Cheng’s cat sitting atop an art catalogue under the night sky, to the large Midday Troubles (2021), in which two figures appear in repose floating against a pale background. Equally wide-ranging are the reference points in her work, which include Japanese woodblock prints, a painting by Tiepolo, and an Instagram photo.