Novemeber 4, 2022 - December 22, 2022

60 Lispenard Street

P: 212 925 4631

New York, NY

Xylor Jane: Second Saturn Return


Detail view of Xylor Jane, Third Saturn Return, 2022


Canada is pleased to announce Second Saturn Return, its seventh solo exhibition with painter Xylor Jane. In a new set of vibrant, prismatic works on panel, Jane continues her exploration of the pleasures and mysteries of numbers and number systems. Gesturing to universal mathematical rules as well as autobiographical details, her paintings are intricate compositions tenderly rendered by hand.

In both Third Saturn Return and Days Alive (VHM), Jane transcribes the integer 32323 in a blocky font that hovers at the edge of intelligibility among a field of triangular zigs and zags of color. 32323 is a prime palindrome, meaning that it is only divisible by itself and 1 and that it reads the same forward and backward. 32323 is not only a favorite of Jane’s (because it contains two twos and three threes), but it is also the number of days that she will be alive when she is in the midst of her third Saturn return in the year 2051. More prime palindromes form the steps of a rainbow-hued ziggurat in Second Saturn Return. At the peak of the pyramid sits 30203, with figures increasingly larger on the way down—it’s hard not to marvel at the astonishing indivisible symmetry of 969837903020309738969.

In addition to representing favored numerals, Jane also creates paintings using systems for organizing sets of integers. Both Dancing Dogs and Lion’s Den, for example, are made using a counting spiral. To construct it, Jane divided the panel into a grid and planned that each small square within it would contain a set of dots between 1 and 9 (arranged in the configuration of a square-shaped domino). In ascending order, Jane added dots to the individual units in a square spiral pattern. The negative space was then filled with another color (yellow in the case of Lion’s Den). Upon completion, this process resulted in a repeating scalloped pattern.


Recently Jane has begun to layer these two methods atop one another—often generating unexpected results. In Robing, for instance, Jane has depicted the numbers in a 4 x 4 magic square, meaning that each column and row of the grid adds to 34. This is incorporated with a pattern of darting diagonal lines that represent the movements within what is known as a knight's tour magic square. The knight's tour magic square is a 16 x 16 grid that contains the integers 1 through 256, each in its own square. Because it is a magic square, each row and column add to the same sum—2,056. What makes the square even more impressive is that if one begins at 1 and proceeds in the up-and-over knight pattern (in chess the knight moves up one square and over two), one will eventually end at 256, having traversed each square only once. Jane’s diagonals in the painting track the back and forth of the knight’s journey. 

Complexly assembled square by square and millimeter by millimeter, Jane’s paintings are certainly decodable for those with the desire to do so. Nevertheless, following the knight’s path or the course of the counting spiral isn’t totally necessary. Jane’s glowing compositions also offer themselves as objects of devotion, inviting the viewer to marvel at renditions of remarkable numerals.

Xylor Jane (b. 1964) was born in Long Beach, CA and lives and works in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Jane attended the now-closed San Francisco Art Institute in the early 1990s. Her work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at the University Museum of Contemporary Art, Amherst, MA; Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA; Canada, New York, NY; Parrasch Heijnen, Los Angeles, CA; Campoli Prest, Paris; Almine Rech, Paris; and Four, Dublin; among others. She received her BFA from SFAI in 1993.

– Written by Ashton Cooper


Installation view of Xylor Jane Second Saturn Return

Starling, 2022
Oil, ink, and graphite on wood panel
20 ¼ × 2 ¼ × 1 ½  in. (framed)


First Image: Xylor’s diagram of the knight’s tour drawn in pencil depicting the longest line moving corner to corner.
Second Image: Diagram of the knight’s tour using the shortest line moving center to center.

Robing, 2022
Oil, ink, and graphite on panel
20 ¼ × 2 ¼ × 1 ½ in. (framed)

Similar to its sister painting Starling, Robing is composed of both a 16 order magic square, full knight’s tour, joined with a 4th order diabolic magic square. The 256 knight moves of the 16 order magic square traverse the plane in a ‘do-si-do’ dance. The coloration of the squares are determined by a sum- down process of 1-9 hues arranged in a spectrum: 1 is red, 2 is orange, etc. The 16 numbers of the 4th order magic square are presented in an oscillation of positive/ negative composition.

Dancing Bears, 2022
Oil and ink on wood panel
31 ½ × 29 ½ × 1 ½ in. (framed)


Dancing Bears features the triangular numbers under 100 arranged in a spiral:

15 21 28

10 91 36

6  78  45

3  66  55

Triangular numbers can be represented in the form of a triangular grid of points such that the points form an equilateral triangle.

Tiger Twins, 2022
Oil and graphite on wood panel
31 ½ × 23 ½ × 1 ½ in. (framed)

Tiger Twins is composed of primes under 1000 organized in four columns arranged by ending digits in the order of 3,1,9 and 7. This ordering of columns allows the twin primes to be joined with diagonal lines. All the prime number are accounted for through spacing and sum down color specificity. Only the twin pairs are represented with numerals.

Love Beast, 2022
Oil, ink, and graphite on wood panel
24 ½ × 24 ½ × 1 ½ in. (framed)


Love Beast is a 6th order magic square of the apocalypse. In recreational mathematics, a square array of numbers, usually positive integers, is called a magic square if the sums of the numbers in each row, each column, and both main diagonals are the same. In this magic square, all prime numbers sum to 666. (Above: Reference material with Xylor’s notations.)


Installation view of Xylor Jane Second Saturn Return

Untitled (25 Nesting Prime Palindromes), 2022
Oil and ink on wood panel
39 ½ × 41 ½ × 1 ½  in. (framed)


This is a list of 25 nesting prime palindromes. The prime palindrome on the bottom row is 101 digits long. (Top Image: Sketch for Untitled (25 Nesting Prime Palindromes), 2022)

Third Saturn Return, 2022
Oil and ink on wood panel
19 ½ × 23 ½ × 1 ½ in. (framed)

Third Saturn Return is the sister painting of Days Alive (VHM). It came to be mostly golds in checkered, directional strokes inspired by the Annunciation. It is also the number of days alive I’ll be around 88 and a half-ish years old in 2051, when I’ll be in my 3rd Saturn Return. Currently, I am in my 2nd Saturn Return–I’ll let you know how that turns out.” - Xylor Jane (Above Image: Jane’s sketch for the number 32323)

Lion's Den, 2022
Acrylic on canvas
20 ¼ × 20 ¼ × 1 ½ in. (framed)

Lion’s Den is a counting spiral of 1 to 9 represented using dots within a 3x3 infered grid space, similar to dice. The counting starts at the center and rotates around in a square spiral building out parallel to the edges of the plane.


Untitled, 2022
Oil and ink on wood panel

31 ½ × 23 ½ × 1 ½ in. (framed)

"Untitled is the fraternal twin of another painting in the the show titled Tiger Twins. The grid is in pencil and the same scale as the ink grid on Untitled. Tiger twins is composed with the same set of numbers: primes under 1000 and in four columns arranged by ending digits in he order of 3,1,9 and 7. This ordering of columns allows the actual twin prime to be joined with white love lines. And while all numbers are accounted for through spacing and sum down color specificity- only the twin pairs are represented with numerals. Both paintings are comprised solely of dots in multiple sizes and employ dot stuffing on the vertices." -Xylor Jane 

Days Alive (VHM), 2022
Oil and ink on wood panel

19 ½ × 23 ½ × 1 ½ in. (framed)

This painting features a single 5-digit number– 32323– presented in a clunky, triangle block font formed from the grid, offset with quadrant negative space. 32323 is a prime palindrome and a personal favorite because it has 3 threes and 2 twos. Days Alive (VHM) is hued with pink and purple glazes painted in alternating vertical/horizontal stroke directions and inspired by recollections of the Zebra from ‘fruit stripe gum.


Selected Works

Dream SpeakRachel Eulena Williams

ZzyzxChristina Sucgang

HomesickSadie Laska

Promised LightLuke Murphy

ReadersKiyoshi Tsuchiya

ComeCloseJoan Snyder

NocturnesAnke Weyer

Arms and the SeaKatherine Bradford

Objet OuttaKen Resseger

Last LandscapesGerald Ferguson

Leroy's LuncheonAzikiwe Mohammed

Frisson CityLee Relvas

Reassembler 3Brian Belott

A Ball is for ThrowingElizabeth McIntosh

Ambient MusicLee Mary Manning

TORSOAnnabeth Marks

BiscuitLyric Shen

Body ForthMatt Connors

A Cliff to ClimbRyan Preciado

Library of a DreamRobert Janitz

Gold GoldRJ Messineo

On ValentinesSpencer Lewis

Who is afraid of Natasha?Joanna Malinowska & CT Jasper

USMichael Mahalchick


The Thick StreamGroup Exhibition

5 SeasonsJason Fox

Mother PaintingsKatherine Bradford

Ceramics and PrintsElisabeth Kley

Black Femme: Sovereign of WAP and the Virtual Realm curated by Christiana Ine-Kimba Boyle

#VayaConDiosKatherine Bernhardt

DrawingsJason Fox

Heart, HeartAnke Weyer

Tracing MemoryRachel Eulena Williams

Rayos De SombraRobert Janitz

GorpTyson Reeder

EREHWONSadie Laska