Hung Liu is known for masterful recreations of historical Chinese photographs. Her subjects over the years have been Chinese refugees, street performers, soldiers, laborers, and prisoners, among others. Liu challenges the documentary authority of the appropriated photographs by reconstructing the narrative through a variety of media. Liu’s initially training in the Socialist Realist style of the Maoist regime is evident in the figures borrowed from the past and presented in a style that resonates with a narrative that is personal as well as universal. The expressive quality of Liu’s artwork is derived from layers of wash that frequently dissolves the original intent of documentary images, suggesting the passage of memory into history, while working to reveal the cultural and personal circumstances of the subjects. Liu studied mural painting as a graduate student at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, and in 1984 fled the Maoist regime and immigrated to the US.
Hung Liu: The Long Way Home is a solo exhibition of the recent work of Chinese-born American contemporary artist, Hung Liu in a variety of media including mixed media, resin, tapestry, oil and works on paper.
Part of the HUMAN INTEREST contemporary portraits series of exhibitions.
Five exhibitions examine contemporary interpretations of the enduring tradition of portraiture. Can a portrait be more than a recognizable image of the sitter? Since the advent of photography, the genre of contemporary portraiture has expanded far beyond the requirement of recording a likeness for posterity. Today we expect more than a likeness and we rely on the artist’s skill and creativity to see the subject’s outward appearance in the context of a larger reality. Artists, both traditional and conceptual, continue to draw on the genre’s rich and limitless options for new means of creative expression, and their efforts have been rewarded with a resurgence of critical interest. The artist’s challenge is to apply his or her ingenuity and empathetic insight to illuminate not just a person’s unique appearance, but also engage the viewer. Portrait artists frequently describe their efforts as “collaborative,” recognizing that the process requires both the resemblance of the subject and the intention of the artist. The individual pictured, known or unknown, in a work of art is almost always read by the viewer as an extension of the human experience. How we react is literally in the hands of the artist.