Thursday, May 23, 2024

Juxtapoz Journal – Leon Xu’s Empty Orchestra


I want I may clarify my fascination with Leon Xu’s work by referring to the nice, bygone masters of sunshine and shadow, solely I do know little or no about artwork historical past. My obsession with Leon’s work grows out of the way it makes me really feel, and I can solely describe that by way of what these emotions remind me of: a pal’s story the place you may visualize virtually every little thing however undoubtedly not every little thing. A lovely music dopplering out of a passing automobile; it’s gone simply as you acknowledge it. A psychological screenshot from a film you haven’t seen because you had been an adolescent. A face throughout a smoke-filled room; you may’t make out whether or not they’re in agony or ecstasy. One thing exceptional that you simply attempt to take an image of, solely it seems to be wack in your telephone. You retain the image anyway, as a reminder of what you as soon as noticed.

The revelation that you would be able to be pleased and unhappy on the similar time. Once I first noticed Leon’s work, I didn’t anticipate to be so moved by work of automobiles. I used to be entranced by how he’d poured his skills into rigorously making every little thing look so hazy, the world seen by a streaked windshield. They felt so intimate, these nonetheless moments from a quick life, all these flashing glimpses into the personal cosmos of his 1989 Toyota Celica. The masterful spray of colours, the bodega flowers driving shotgun, the brilliance of the solar: all of this felt so joyful and possibility-rich, a reminder to concentrate to all of the sensations round me. However Leon’s work felt tinged with melancholy, the best way a sure shade of sunshine in Chinese language eating places makes me melancholy. Every little thing feels fleeting. The flowers are already lifeless, the sunshine won’t ever look the identical because it did just a few blocks in the past. There aren’t any strains or borders in Leon’s work, simply these wondrous, meticulous blurs that come into focus from a distance, and the impact is realizing that you simply’re not taking a look at a portray about actuality, however about reminiscence. These had been work of meadows and fields, numerous angles of a automobile, a cool signal, a bouquet; these had been work of recollections, and of that second whenever you acknowledge you might be seeing one thing particular. It occurs to all of us, we simply don’t know how one can seize it. And you then notice that Leon’s work are invites, to not journey alongside by his previous, however to acknowledge the splendor of your current. He’s attempting to cross on that chill you’re feeling whenever you witness one thing unexpectedly elegant, whether or not it’s the solar hitting good off the dashboard, or a neon signal slicing by late-night mist. Most of us by no means discover.

The work of Empty Orchestra mark a captivating flip in Leon’s personal story. They recommend an artist seeking new horizons. Perhaps he’s bought a little bit extra paper now, he’s gone new locations and seen issues he’s by no means seen earlier than. He’s trying to find quiet and visions of escape. However he all the time returns house. Again behind the wheel, solely the night time sky by no means seems to be the identical. There’s one portray specifically that I stored returning to. The artist is exterior. You’ve skilled a scene like this earlier than, the enchanting solar drawing you into nature. As with all of Leon’s work, I wish to get as shut as potential, to soak up the minute particulars, to have a look at every flower petal individually, solely the nearer you get, the extra washed-out and summary it’s. Just a few inches away: nonetheless too shut. So I step again, I discover the main target, and I maintain stepping again, to soak up much more of it, till I’m again on the earth, and every little thing seems to be totally different now. – Hua Hsu

Leon Xu was born in 1995 in Zongshan, China, and raised in San Francisco. He acquired a Bachelors of Nice Artwork from College of Pennsylvania, and a certificates in Portray from Pennsylvania Academy of Nice Arts. That is his second solo present with the gallery.


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