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Before joing MSU, Xia Gao was an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Dong Hua University in Shanghai, China. Gao had guest lectured in the School of Media and Design at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. Gao received her degrees of Bachelor of Art in Fashion Design and Master of Engineering in Apparel Design from China Textile University (former Dong Hua University). Later, she received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Textile Art and Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Gao had exhibited in the United States and China in juried and solo shows. She had received exhibition awards in juried shows at Design Gallery in Madison, Wisconsin. Her creative work had been supported through “Graduate Program Council Scholarship” from School of Human Ecology and “David and Edith Sinaiko Frank Graduate Fellowship for a Woman in the Art” from Art Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and “Grant-In-Aid” research funding from Research Council at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She had been selected for 2010 Djerassi Residency artist in Woodside, California and invited for a public lecture at the Palo Alto Art Center, California. Her solo show at Lux Center for the Arts will be in conjunction with Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Gao’s creative work explores personal and cultural adaptation and transformation in installations through the interplay of textile and space.
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.
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.