Xiao Wen Xu is a self-taught, emerging Chinese-born Canadian artist in Toronto, Ontario. She started painting at the age of three, taking weekend art classes in her hometown of Tianjin, China. By the end of kindergarten, she dreamed of being a professional painter. As she got older, however, she chose a more “practical” creative career path in Architecture. After graduating from the University of Waterloo with a Masters of Architecture in 2018, she worked at an architecture firm for three years while painting in her free time and participating in juried exhibitions. In 2021, she was admitted to CAMH Hospital in Toronto. Art brought hope into her life and is still her shelter of joy and peace, which she hopes to share with the viewer. After exiting the hospital, she decided to take a leap and pursue painting full-time. In her first year, she donated all her painting profits to CAMH. Since then, she had two solo art shows in Toronto in 2022 and 2023. She creates all her paintings in her home studio in Toronto where she lives with her husband.
Xiao Wen Xu’s artistic practice is influenced by her contemplative love of the natural environment. Her recent series, Rainbowland Leaves, is a collection of works painted from life and reference photos she took in Toronto and abroad. She uses a wet-on-wet technique with watercolour and acrylic gouache. The pieces are done with a stylized positive painting technique leaving ample negative spaces influenced by traditional Chinese paintings. Capturing the realistic shapes of leaves using bold and bright imaginary colours, she seeks to convey her happiness and joy. The vivid palette and the natural forms of her subject offer an escape into a “new romantic world.”
Xiao Wen Xu's artwork has been exhibited at the Show Gallery, Paula White Diamond Gallery, and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Her works are held in the public collection of the Canadian Mental Health Association and private collections in Canada, China, United States and Barbados.