Urban and Social Landscape: Art by Cui Jie

A painting made with overlapping architectural visualsOverpass at Shuang Jing Qiao, oil on canvas

Cui Jie is a Chinese artist who combines painting techniques with the aesthetics of collage and photo-manipulation. In her studio practice, Cui creates artworks that explore changes in China’s urban and social landscape through visual markers that call to mind a double-exposed photograph.

A painting of several changing, overlapping buildingsZhao Wei Building, oil on canvas


I really enjoy the way that Cui combines realistic architectural forms with slightly abstracted or stylized mark-making. Cui’s images have a sharpness about them that stems from the artist’s use of geometric planes and hard, cutting outlines – though sometimes elements will blur or bleed into one another, the artist generally seems to favour clear delineation and layering.


The texture of Cui’s works is also really interesting. The artist emulates the smooth reflective surfaces of glass and metallic structures in a way that calls to mind speculative science fiction illustrations from the 1950s or 60s. Working in combination with the rougher, more textured brush marks, each work seems caught in a state of upheaval between past and present.

A painting of overlapping sculptural architectureWorker Cultural Palace in Dongguan, oil on canvas

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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