A Journey of Reflection & Inspiration | “The Dimension of Otherness” by Chinese Artist, Jiang Miao


Jiang Miao

Meet Jiang Miao, a Chinese artist born in 1981, whose creative journey is characterized by a deep exploration of yin/yang, point/line, and energy/life. With a background in black-and-white woodcutting and spiritual landscape oil painting, she now delves into themes of life, exploring the different aspects of the human existence in her canvases.

In an exclusive interview, Miao shares her artistic process, inspirations, and the profound meanings behind her latest exhibition “The Dimension of Otherness.”

Exploring the essence of “The Dimension of Otherness”

From Jiang Miao “The Dimension of Otherness” 2023, Whitestone Gallery Beijing,“Taoist Trinity and the Self No.35” 2020, 175.0φ, Wooden panel, acrylic, carving.

As we explore the underlying theme that shapes her creative vision, Miao”s unique artistic language, characterized by layering acrylic and carving, is just pure beauty and a sight to wonder. Her artworks touch upon the subject of spirituality and the wonders of the universe, creating a visual portrayal that intertwines with our everyday reality.

- What is the theme of this Exhibition “The Dimension of Otherness” ?

Miao: The theme is unusual, and what is transformed into the work is the invisible spiritual world and the spiritual dimension in the universe. Compared with the everyday, visible things, these (artworks) are unusual, but they exist in the world, captured, imagined, and created by the artist.

The artistic language is distinctive. By layering multiple coats of acrylic and subsequently carving them with a knife, the resulting visual effects are both unpredictable and guided by the circumstances; likened to opening a “mystery box, “where the outcome remains uncertain until revealed.

Jiang Miao “The Dimension of Otherness” 2023, Whitestone Gallery Beijing.

- In this exhibition you present works of art with different styles. What does art mean to you?

Miao: I believe that truth, goodness, and beauty serve as guiding beacons, illuminating the path of civilization. Regardless of the era, humanity is always pursuing these ideals. In our present time, we find ourselves a little lost, blinded by self-interests, which proves to be an unstable and dangerous direction. I think we need to urgently return to the core values of truth, goodness, and beauty, which through art is what I intend to pursue.

When I refer to truth, goodness, and beauty, I am advocating the return to the essence of the universe where we appreciate the miraculous and magnificent origins of life. Life should not be driven by greed and strife; rather it should provide hope to civilization and to inspire the inner cognition with light and beauty. While science, religion and other facets of our society each contribute to this pursuit, every path manifests in its unique way. Personally, art has infinite tolerance, requiring only sincere acceptance, emotional connection, and authentic expression to fulfill its purpose.

Ancient Influences in Art

Jiang Miao “Silent Order 2022.5.15” 2022, 180.0 × 250.0cm, Panel, acrylic, oil, aluminum.

In contemporary visual art, there has been a growing interest in exploring religion and spirituality. While Buddhism is not new to the contemporary art scene and has influenced the works of John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg and Allen Ginsberg, it is not the only source of inspiration for artists. Eastern philosophy, in its broader sense, has also played a role in shaping Miao”s creative thought. For Chinese artists like Miao herself, the bond with Eastern philosophy and Buddhism is deeply rooted in history and remains relevant in the present. Drawing from these ancient sources, her artworks embody aspects of life that are both spiritual and mundane, poetic and aesthetic, individual and collective.

- We have noticed your incorporation of ancient civilizations, particularly Eastern philosophy and Buddhism, in your artwork. What do you think about these things?

Miao: I express the inspiration and guidance as an artist, I think philosophy and religion also have their methodology to enlighten people to discuss truth and beauty.

Symbolic Motifs: The Gaze of the “eye” & the Swirl of the “whirlpool”

From Jiang Miao “The Dimension of Otherness” 2023, Whitestone Gallery Beijing, “Heavenly Eyes 2023.3.20” 2023, 217.0 × 160.0cm, Panel, acrylic, aluminum, carving.

For Miao, the motifs of the “eye” and “whirlpool” hold great significance, filled with layers of meaning that deeply resonate with her artistic expression. Drawing inspiration from traditional Chinese painting, Miao infuses her woodcut works with the essence of both contemporary and classical art forms. Unlike brushstrokes, the cuts of the knife in woodcutting leave indelible impressions, mirroring the permanence and intricacies of human existence. Through this woodcut technique, Miao plays with the motifs of the “eye” and “whirlpool” into her pieces.

- The motifs of "eye" and "whirlpool" frequently appear in your artwork. What do these motifs mean to you? How do they contribute to the overarching themes and narratives within your work?

Miao: Life is composed of soul, space, and matter. The essence of the soul finds expression through the symbolism of spinning, while space holds a magnetic force and is represented by points, lines, and surfaces—the fundamental building blocks of three-dimensional existence. Color, comes from light, embodying energy. I hope my works instills strength within others and provokes contemplation about the essence of life itself. The “Heavenly Eyes herald the Eye of Enlightenment” serves as a herald in the pursuit of higher understanding.

A Colorful Palette Through Woodcutting

Jiang Miao is at work.

The connection between Miao”s daily experiences and the manifestation of colors in her art adds depth to her work. Miao has revealed that like her artworks, each of us is constantly evolving, shaped by past experiences and driven by the mysteries of tomorrow. The interplay of subconscious energy and layers of emotions further embodies the core of existence itself, which she skillfully expresses through the use of color.

- Your works are renowned for their unique technique of uncovering layers of colors from beneath acrylics. You have mentioned that your daily experiences manifest as colors in your work—could you elaborate further on this connection?

Miao: The use of color is random. For example, I painted the first layer unconsciously, and then the next day, I found it inadequate. So I layer additional coats repeating this process multiple times. All these actions contribute to the ultimate outcome, which I perceive as a fusion of subconscious energy. The work is not determined by the last layer, but by all other failed 30-40 layers that precede it, including those that may have been unsuccessful.

This concept parallels the human experience, where each individual is a work in progress. The past decades shape our present, while numerous future days gradually lead to the final outcome. Throughout this journey, we navigate a constant interplay of struggle, mistakes, satisfaction, and dissatisfaction. The ultimate effect of our existence is influenced by the energy that emanates from our subconscious, carried over from our previous life. When we observe a work, we also sense the underlying emotions and dissatisfactions embedded within the work. These uncertainties, and incongruities contribute to the depth and authenticity in the profound beauty and sincerity that resides within.

Close-up of the work.

The Impact of Location on Miao”s Artistic Journey

Jiang Miao “The Dimension of Otherness” 2023, Whitestone Gallery Beijing.

While on her artistic journey, she finds herself at the doorstep of Beijing, a city brimming with culture, history and personal significance. Miao”s familiarity with the city allows her to immerse herself even more deeply in her art, infusing it with a strong connection to the surroundings.

- Whitestone Gallery has showcased your solo exhibitions in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Taipei. This upcoming exhibition marks your first solo showcase in Beijing. How does the location of the exhibition impact the theme and production of your works?

Miao: Beijing is a place I am familiar with. I can engage deeply in the preparations leading up to the exhibition. I believe that this involvement contributes in enhancing the thematic richness of the artworks. The new space at Whitestone Gallery Beijing, coupled with the elaborate lighting arrangements, definitely provides an ideal platform for showcasing the works to viewers.

Jiang Miao is at work.

Miao's responses have given us a deeper understanding of how her artworks reflect life and spirituality. The highlight of the interview was discovering the significance behind the motifs of the “eye” and “whirlpool”, which serve as powerful symbols reflecting the complexities of human existence. Her art is profound, showcasing the blend of subconscious energy and the layers of emotions that shape our very being.

Her solo exhibition in Beijing is on view until 19 August. Be mesmerized by her beautiful pieces on display.

View Exhibition Details »

Subscribe Our Mail Magazine

If you chose to subscribe to our newsletter, you will receive the latest news and exclusive offers by email.









View more