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Xylor Jane at Parrasch Heijnen


The year 2020 included a global palindrome that hadn’t numerically occurred since the year 1111. That date, 02/02/2020, spelled out the same forward and backward, and other lingual and numerical patterns form the basis for mark making in Xylor Jane’s new exhibition at Parrasch Heijnen. Through meticulous measuring, counting, and layering, Jane’s hand-painted geometrics form beguiling patterns created by simply following the artist’s set of rules for each painting. Her paintings are made up of a series of dots that often culminate into tessellating fields, each following their own logic — some following the sequencing of prime numbers as a guide to her mark making and others take more surprising patterns as a starting place.

“Moon Dragon,” a snake-skin-like pattern made up of tonal gray dots painted into a grid, is actually informed by the names of various cats that the artist has adopted. In the painting, the letters of their names —“Sprinkles,” “Apple,” “Crouton” — are each assigned a shade of gray, and applied in sequence across each row of the painting. In “Dissent (26 Nesting Prime Palindromes),” Jane carefully grids out a set of expanding palindromes — 3 2 3 for instance — in stacked rows to create an inverted triangular pattern that the artist noted resembles the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s white “dissent” collar. The careful steady hand of Jane’s paint application, though near perfect, allows for subtle imperfections, allowing humanity to seep through her robotic compositions. Through her exacting systems, Jane allows for sublime patterns to emerge, creating beauty and phenomenon out of everyday numerical structures.

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Photo: Xylor Jane, “Dissent (26 Nesting Prime Palindromes),” 2020. Image courtesy of the artist and Parrasch Heijnen.