Since 1983, Ai Xuan's creative concept has shifted from depicting peasant life to the remote Tibetan Highlands. The misty snow scenes, sequestered cottages, and the innocent faces of the girls become the subjects for expressing the artist's inner world. In Tibetan Girl (Lot 1301), the petite lady in traditional Tibetan cotton-quilted jacket stands alone in the misty white snowfield, beyond which there is nothing but an icy field where time seems to have frozen still. Prominently placed in the center of the painting, the features and the facial expression of the girl are rendered naturalistically with refined brushstrokes. Her sorrowful eyes and aloof expression is a stark contrast to the images of happy children that we are accustomed to seeing and thus evokes a profound empathy of the viewer. Ai successfully captivates the viewer to imagine the mood of solitude, simplicity and mystery encapsulating the girl.
Ai's Girl in Cottage Window (Lot 1302) depicts a Tibetan girl in a small cottage deep within the Highlands. The artist contrives only a window through which you can see the snowcapped landscape. The icy and frosty window is masterfully captured under Ai's brush and creates an atmospheric ambience to the painting. Ai captures the moment when the girl turns to glance and her seemingly unexpectedness of running into a stranger. Her partly hesitant and surprised expression demonstrates a desire to suppress her real emotions. Ai portrays the girl in a three-quarter profile to accentuate the distance between her and the viewers, whereby they feel like an intruder to the girl's inner world. By means of naturalistic depiction, exquisite brushwork and meticulously rendered forms, Ai fills his works with passionate sentiments that reflect his subject's complex emotions.