With his early series of paintings that depicted his subjects underwater from the unexpected perspective of looking up from underneath, Xia Xiaowan is an artist who continues to defy conventional painting, whilst maintaining his reputation as a highly respected academic artist, belonging to an older generation who fought for artistic freedom and expression in China. In the earlier works he created, he produces a palpable and eerie tension between solid form and liquid emotions, which he continues to express in his more recent glass works that arose as he became overwhelmed by the emergence of new art forms in the late 1990s. He came to realise that painting was limited in the representation of a three-dimensional space and preoccupied by this problem, he conducted various extensive experiments inspired by CAT scans. He created an image then divided it into layers, drawing them each in coloured glass pencil on a sheet of tinted glass, then stacking the sheets one in front of the other, he achieved a new way of looking at painting that also questioned the conventional boundaries. As a result, the translucent presentation conveys the depth and solidity of his subject whilst his impeccably intricate drawing skills bring his artwork into life.