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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Changing Urban Landscape

Xia Gao, artist and curator

Friday, September 6, 2013
5:00 p.m. Opening Reception
6:00 p.m. Artist Lecture          

Exhibit remains through September 29, 2013
Burnett Gallery
Gualala Arts Center

Xia Gao I love observing people's lives, especially those different from my own. I think it is both the geographic distance and cultural difference that elevate my curiosity. When I relocated into a Western culture, the geographic migration brought me new insight into the cultural milieu of my native East. My work tells stories, personal experiences, and my renewed connection to my cultural tradition and Eastern origin. The transformations in my own life and in Chinese culture are new inspirations for my creative expression.

The dialogues between past and present, East and West, nature and culture are recurring themes in my work. The boundaries between these themes might be clear or blurred as they appear in the real world. My memories, reflections, and contemplations are interpreted into visual languages of image, layering, light, and shadow, and then applied on fabric and in space.

I attend to the interplay of textile with space and invite audiences to participate in their interaction. Surface images are often loaded with cultural interpretations. They allude to tradition yet dissolve into modernist aesthetic expression. Layering not only refers to the explicit overlapping of material and imagery, but also implies a juxtaposition of times, cultures, and aesthetics.

Xia Gao Xia Gao An evolving hybrid-making process, which blends digital and manual skills and integrates traditional techniques with new innovations, comes naturally to my work; it fits into my transcultural perspective and position.

This show features visual explorations of changing urban landscape in art installations, which reflect issues, causes, and happenings of changing urban landscapes. They suggest fragility, vulnerability, and sustainability concerns of human constructed environments and their dependence and impact on nature. The installations highlight fiber/textile's interplay with space, mixed media approach, and artwork's social focus and engagement.

To see more of Xia Gao's fiber work, visit her web site at

Video produced by Lois Patiño, Spain; Photo by Carla Andrade, Spain.

meditation pillows at Bowling Ball Beach Gao will also present a free workshop on Saturday, September 7 starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Gualala Arts Center.

She will lead participants through making "woven" pillows using cable ties. Her goal is to spend the morning creating 40 "meditation pillows" and then install them on one of the local beaches in the afternoon.

"Each pillow will function as a holder/container that symbolizes time, age, baggage, desire, rest, and contemplation," says Gao. The beach installation is expected to occur between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. and will be recorded by both photographers and videographers.

Update: Photos from the workshop are available on Facebook: Installation at Bowling Ball Beach.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.