Alan Caomin Xie
An oil painting portrait of a woman viewed through a TV screen

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Still Image 24-Andrea
Collection of the artist

I was born in Shanghai, China. I received training in figurative painting and sculpture at the China Academy of Art from 1989 to 1998. I came to the United States in 1999, and received my MFA degree at Savannah College of Art & Design. Currently, I am teaching at Clayton State University, Atlanta, Georgia. In the past seven years, I painted a lot of oil paintings about how media and technologies have changed people’s vision, concentrating mainly on paintings of human facial expressions. The traditional concept of portraiture is about eye-to-eye “gazing”. “Gazing” digests images and transform them into memory. Within the motion graphic technology era, TV and computer screens provide images to the viewer at a rate faster than they can be digested. The notion of gazing becomes uncanny. We need instruments to bring up our memory, such as video tapes…. My portrait painting is about the experience of looking at faces through TV screens. I want to capture the motion and uncertainty of facial expressions rather than fixed still images. I usually paint two images on the canvas with different facial expressions and slightly shifted positions. The result is that the canvas becomes a simulated TV screen. Recently, I’m working on a new series of paintings. I’m painting the computer-distorted self-portrait with facial makeup.