Xenia was born in Moscow into a family of artists and studied at the Stroganov Academy of Applied Arts. After living for fifteen years on an island outside Istanbul, she moved to Oxford in 2016. Though trained as a ceramicist, she now mainly works in oil and charcoal. She has also explored etching at the Scuola Internazionale di Graphica in Venice.
Xenia grew up among an important collection of early 20th Century Russian avant garde art and has been deeply influenced by the experiments in form and colour of Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Vasily Kandinsky and her own great-grandfather, a member of the Blue Rider movement. Among contemporary artists she is inspired by the work of Peter Doig, Lucien Freud and Jenny Uglow - particularly for their use of altered perspective, their vivid palette and deeply sensual vision.
In Istanbul, Xenia was fascinated by the dry, bright colours of the Mediterranean and the ceramic traditions of Seljuk art, particularly its stylised representations of hunted animals. She also explored the urban palimpsest of Istanbul, in particular the idea that time can make buildings as characterful as human portrait subjects. She created a series of paintings and prints of the decaying buildings of the old city - once-grand edifices whose facades have been decayed by centuries of weather and poverty.
In her work since moving to Oxfordshire she has explored the colours and textures of the woodlands around her home in the village of Wytham. The changing moods and light of Wytham Woods has inspired a new series of portraits of trees - which like her paintings of Istanbul buildings are as mysterious and characterful as people.
At the same time Xenia has been working on more conventional portraiture, breaking down the canons of the academic tradition in which she was taught and exploring different ways of capturing character and emotion through the use of outlining, blurring and speed-sketching.