on their faces, and to care and love them.”
Exact information on Xiang’s pieces is a little hard to come by on the internet, so that for any given piece I probably couldn’t find the actual dimensions, or the date, or even the title. The first face shown here is 90 x 120cm, way bigger than anything I’ve ever done, but the only place I could find the title given was in Chinese, which is all Greek to me. I’d love to be able to find more comprehensive information on these pieces - but what I’d really love is to see Xiang’s work in person, to feel the full impact, and then to get my eyes right up close and see the tiny details and the
marks of carving and pressing. (Xiang apparently presses by hand, presumably with a traditional baren.) I wouldn’t even begin to know where to carve and where to leave black in order to get these effects of contours, softness, and expression.
Xiang’s portraits have been compared to landscapes because of his attention to the contours created by age and weathering. He also does actual landscapes, and they too are
characterized by intricate detail, but also by looser, more stylized shapes, more reminiscent of traditional Chinese brush painting. But much like his portraits, his landscapes also serve as invitations to consider what stories might be taking place here. Despite all the detail, there’s always some mystery, too. Here’s an artist with a unique and beautiful vision, and the ability to share it with the rest of us.
[Pictures: Mother(?), woodcut by Xiang Silou, 2011 (Image from UC Santa Cruz);
unknown, woodcut by Xiang, c. 2005 (Image from Ricefield centre);
Rooftops of home town, woodcut by Xiang;
unknown, woodcut by Xiang, 1999 (Images from Guanlan Prints);
Waverly Station, Edinburgh, woodcut by Xiang, 2006 (Image from Frames Gallery).]
Quotation from Lin Chau of the Ricefield Center, as reported in The Scotsman, March 26, 2008.