Caomin Xie

Region: South

My interpretation of Buddhist ideas runs throughout my recent Mandala of Ruins paintings series. The mandala first appeared in Tantric Buddhism as a form of sand painting. In the making of a mandala, different colored sand is processed through metempsychosis, like pictures changing in a kaleidoscope. It embodies the Buddhist concepts of creation, dwelling, destruction, and emptiness. As we confront the stupendous creative and destructive powers of today’s technology, the mandala for me is the best visual metaphor of our world.

My recent painting series Group Photo came from thinking about the question of cultural identity. I often get questions about how I identify myself as a person and as an artist, and this group of paintings is a non-answer to those types of questions. The black and white paint that hides the face is swirled in order to represent randomness and chaos (yin yang), communicating the idea that a person is not composed of one, but many.