Hung Liu Exhibit

Hung Liu has lived in the United States since 1984 creating art with layers of humor and seriousness. Her paintings and prints, with their beautifully rendered scenes are commentaries on life in Communist China but also on the absurdity of life anywhere. What is happy and gay? What is an atomic family? The hardships of her early life in China are a source material of incredible power, but Liu taps into it without bitterness.

Liu is known for her paintings drawn from Chinese historical photography and often depicts such elemental human activities as laboring, eating, journeying, leaping, fighting and dreaming. With an overlay of traditional Chinese birds, flowers, insects, dragons, and – most recently – stylized human figures, Liu offers her subjects artistic evidence of their own rich heritage – as if to remind or comfort them. The photorealism of the works is tempered by Liu’s technique of diluting her paint with linseed oil, which is then dripped onto the surface, blurring and distorting the portrait. The painting becomes akin to a memory image, and much of the meaning of Liu’s painting comes from the way the washes and drips dissolve the photo-based images, working to uncover the cultural and personal narratives.