XU Shiyuan was born in Hangzhou, China. She received her BA in Ceramics from China Academy of Art in 2012, and an MFA from Arizona State University in 2016. Xu was the recipient of 2017 Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist, and she has been awarded multiple prestigious artist residencies, such as Archie Bray Foundation, Houston Centre for Contemporary Craft, Lawrence Arts Centre and Lillstreet Art Centre.
Her work is inspired by the research of scientific and microscopic phenomena ranging from single-celled organisms in the ocean to the diverse plant's seeds on the land, and ultimately to the building blocks of all life forms. Xu's fascination with the shapes, patterns, structures and textures of these microorganisms stimulates her creation. She reinterprets these visual elements into sculptural forms revealing the beauty and diversity of the hidden world.
The regular and irregular structures and layers of clay and glaze grow, interact, alter, evolve and adapt as Xu Shiyuan slowly builds and fires them, indicating the moments from vulnerable to strength, and the shared complex structural relationships within environment. The final pieces are in many ways like living organisms, which are the reflections of her own life path, and an abstraction of the complexity and delicacy of life itself.