Kylie Manning: Sea Change
Kylie Manning: Sea Change

Curator & Artists

20231217 - 20240225







X Museum is delighted to present the debut solo exhibition of American artist Kylie Manning in China, ‘Sea Change’, in Gallery 1 and 2 from December 17th, 2023 to February 25th, 2024. Featuring Manning’s most recent works, including a series of oil paintings and drawings, the exhibition showcases the artist’s ongoing exploration of the traditions of abstract painting and contemporary New Leipzig techniques, as well as her latest painting practice inspired by music and ballet.

‘Sea Change’ is a perspectival shift that affects a paradigm or zeitgeist, traditionally ‘wrought by the sea’. As painter Kylie Manning digs deeper into the primordial gatherings and life experiences of late, the research comes to fruition with a series of oil paintings and drawings. While creating this new body of work, Manning experienced pregnancy and childbirth, culminating with the debut of the artist’s monumental collaboration with the renowned New York City Ballet last spring. These sagas were utterly and uber-physical, fully immortalized in the paintings through outward and inward reflection.

Eight poetic, large-scale oil paintings lend a delicate, fluid ambiance to the exhibition. Blurring the boundaries between abstraction and figuration, these paintings often draw upon the artist’s childhood experiences in Alaska and Mexico. Situating genderless, anonymous, spectral figures within expansive landscapes, Manning’s masterful works ingeniously portray distinctive settings and stories through the skillful use of light and color. The thick, textured impasto and staggered lines create a resonance with the movement of water or light, with concealed portraits occasionally interlacing or standing alone, evocative of kisses, breaths, or solitary moments. Through her artistic interpretation of life experiences, Kylie Manning infuses the dreamlike ambiance into the magnificence of the natural world. These artworks illustrate an introspective perception of fluidity, which leads the viewer to an understanding or reflection on intimacy and transience.

Alongside large and vibrant sfumato paintings, an accompanying suite of graphite drawings on Washi and cold-pressed paper offers a direct window into the softness of the works on canvas. Originating as gesture studies from the New York City ballet rehearsals, these drawings create a translated visual bridge that references the draftsmanship Manning so elegantly sows into the finely washed layers of her paintings. These works also portray how the figurative elements in Manning’s paintings are merely a starting point for unique abstractions, speed measurements, and gestural leaps.

‘Sea Change’ brings together Manning’s most ambitious work to date; with a triumphant diptych doubling the artist’s average scale, it operates as both the quietest and loudest work in the exhibition. The images submerge and emerge in temperate blue and green layers as flotsams on a beach until an overall harmony is born. The compositions push unification to the edge with a variety of mark-making methods that intertwine groups of figures in marshes and wetlands. Within these whirling, chromatic splashes and pours, sketches come through as if sticks were scattered on the beach at low tide. The water pulls away any straightforward narrative, and ghosts of the limbs remain. These figurative remnants feel like a dream of something or someone we miss. Meanwhile, the deep perspectives looking across the sea’s horizon remind us of a storm that is both coming and has passed.

About the Artist

Kylie Manning (b.1983, Alaska) is a Brooklyn-based painter dealing with the tradition of gesture as filtered through the lens of contemporary German painting. An abstract figurative painter, her canvasses reveal a hybrid of influences pertaining to being born in Alaska and raised half in Mexico. Her oil paint compositions center on ethereal, gestural, and genderless figures within expansive, disparate landscapes. In her paintings, Manning purposefully leaves the origin, gender, and raison d’être of the forms up to interpretation, allowing the viewer to step into her world, yet form their own reading of the work. Brushing upon a version of surrealist academia due to working and exhibiting in the Spinnerei alongside the New Leipzig School, Manning incorporates a contemporary feminist sense of humor and queer dialogue. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College Summa Cum Laude with a double Major in Philosophy and Visual Arts, with a Masters from the New York Academy of Art.

Kylie Manning’s recent solo exhibitions are held at Pace Gallery (2023, Geneva; 2022, Los Angeles); Anonymous Gallery (2021, New York); and KN Gallery (2017, Berlin). Her recent group exhibitions are held at X Museum (2023, Beijing); Pace Gallery (2023, Palm Beach; 2021, New York); John Little Gallery (2021, New York); and One Mile Gallery (2021. New York). Her work is held in numerous collections worldwide including the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, Florida; X Museum, Beijing, China; and Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China.

About The Artists

About The Curators