California-based painter and illustrator Ora Xu has a quirky, colorful style and a penchant for creating surrealist landscape paintings full of otherworldly creatures acting out inscrutible stories.
This piece for instance, entitled I Don’t Care, I Don’t Care shows two fish swimming in a strange underwater world:
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The more you study it, the stranger it becomes. An avian skull (wearing a subtle grin) rests on the sandy floor next to a third fish that seems determined to bury itself alive.
Perhaps most disturbingly, a small child seen curled up further back in the murky water.
Not sure exactly what’s happening? That might be part of the plan. Ora explains that her work represents “social and individual struggles to come to terms with the question of what comprises human experience.” Furthermore, she says she “aims to deliver obscuring messages through mundane objects.”
Let’s take a look at a second painting, entitled Farm 1.
Overall, it feels a bit lighter, emotionally, than the first painting – these cattle are floating, after all. But the landscape is also dry and barren, almost like it’s been baked into a fine, white powder. To me, it feels a bit like the end of something. . . and no one is paying attention.
Last but not least, here is Where Does Light Come From?
I love how rich and brilliantly-colored this painting is. Like the others, I’m not sure what it means, but that’s OK. Not knowing the message is secondary to feeling the emotions that Ora’s colors and creatures express.
If you’d like to experience more of Ora Xu’s artwork, please take a minute to visit her website today.