Page 1

HUNG LIU


Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art and Byron Cohen Gallery present

HUNG LIU : Migrant Mother and Her Children November 3, 2017 - Janurary 20, 2018

Exhibition Location: Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art 2004 Baltimore Avenue Kansas City, MO 64108 816.221.2626 www.sherryleedy.com www.byroncohengallery.com


By Jeff Kelley

Hung Liu is primarily known as a painter of Chinese subjects, typically from the 19th and 20th centuries, whose paintings are based on historical Chinese photographs. Given the historical, often tragic subject matter she represents, her style is a kind of weeping realism. Liu’s newest paintings, however, are based upon the Dustbowl and Depression era photographs of American documentary photographer Dorothea Lange, whom Liu has long admired. Shifting focus from Chinese to American subjects may seem a surprise to Liu’s audience, at first. But by training her attention on the displaced individuals and wandering families of the American Dustbowl, Liu finds a landscape of overarching struggle and underlying humanity that for her is familiar terrain, having been raised in China during an era (Mao’s) of epic revolution, tumult, and displacement. The 1930s Oakies and Bindle-stiff’s wandering like ghosts through Liu’s new paintings are American peasants on their way to California, the promised land. In her paintings for Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art and Byron Cohen, Liu – who is known for a fluid style in which drips and washes of linseed oil dissolve the photo-based images the way time erodes memory – has developed a kind of topographic realism in which the paint coagulates around a webbing of colored lines, together enmeshed in a rich surface that belies the poverty of her subjects. In this, the new paintings are more factually woven to Lange’s photographs while also releasing the energy of color like a radiant of hope from beneath the grey-tones of history. This approach first emerged from an accident in which Liu, who was sketching figures from an image projected on a blank canvas, ran out of charcoal and, to finish the drawing, resorted to colored chalk. Reminded of her Chinese academic training in which orange lines are often used beneath neo-classical and realist propaganda painting, she began experimenting with colored lines, soon in oil paint. The paradoxical result has been a softening of the ground and a hardening – a kind of mapping – of the figures, whose edges and outlines and details are sharpened by the colorful lines and squiggles that both stiffen and liberate them. In short, looking hard at Lange’s photographs has changed Liu’s painting, allowing her empathic sense of touch, and her deeply intuitive knowledge of color as a liberating force, to make contact with the stories underlying their surfaces – stories which, whether Chinese or American, continue emerging like hope for all who still seek a place in history.

2.


Migrant Mother II Oil on Canvas 60” x 60” 2016

3.


4.


Migrant Child: With Bunny Oil on Canvas 48” x 48” 2017 5.


Migrant Child: With Kitty Oil on Canvas 48” x 48” 2017 6.


Camp Companions Oil on Canvas 66” x 66” 2015 7.


8.


Fetching Water I Oil on Canvas 80” x 80” 2016 9.


Fetching Water II Oil on Canvas 80” x 80” 2016 10.


(left) Little Farmhand Mixed Media 41” x 41” 2017 (middle) Old Black Joe Oil on Canvas 36” x 36” 2016 11.


Clarence Mixed Media 36” x 36” 2017 12.


13.


Angel Wing Oil on Canvas 60” x 48” 2015 14.


Behind the Ears Oil on Canvas 80” x 80” 2016 15.


16.


Dandelions 8 Oil on Canvas 48” x 96” 2015 17.


18.


Dandelions 9 Oil on Canvas 48” x 96” 2015 19.


20.


The Crop Mixed Media 41” x 53” 2017 21.


22.


Working Man II Oil on Canvas 36” x 36” 2016 23.


Working Man III Oil on Canvas 36” x 36” 2016 24.


(left) Dandelion and Butterfly Mixed Media 20.5” x 20.5” 2017 (middle) Dandelion with Mallard Mixed Media 20.5” x 20.5” 2017 25.


(butterfly) Dandelion and Butterfly Mixed Media 20.5” x 20.5” 2017 26.


Dandelion and Cicada Mixed Media 36” x 36” 2017 27.


Dandelion and Dragonflies Mixed Media 36” x 36” 2017 28.


29.


Migrating Mixed Media 33” x 41” 2017 30.


Mascot/Bow Painted glazes on handmade ceramic tiles 18” x 36” x ¾” 2010 31.


32.


Da Fan Che Monotype with hand leafing and hand coloring Image size 26” x 26” Paper size 32” x 31” Ed 1/9 2017 33.


Manchu Bride – Gold Edition Monotype with hand leafing and hand coloring Image size 26” x 26” Paper Size 32” x 31” Ed 5/9 2017 34.


Red Old Woman Painted glazes on handmade ceramic tile 16” x 16” x 3/4” 2010 35.


36.


Open Sky Archival pigment print Image size 26” x 26” Paper size 32” x 31” Ed 6/9 2017 37.


Cottonfield Monotype with hand leafing and hand coloring Image size 26” x 36” Paper size 32” x 41” Ed 6/9 2017 38.


Sidelong Painted glazes on handmade ceramic tiles 16” x 32” x ¾” 2010 40.


41.


End of Day Lithograph 22” x 30” Ed of 40 2016 42.


43.


44.


Route 66 Lithograph 25.25” x 31.5” Ed of 60 2016 45.


Route 66 With Cat Lithograph 25.25” x 31.5” Ed of 40 2016 46.


47.


Black Madonna Black and White Lithograph 35” x 27.75” Ed of 20 2016

48.


Black Madonna Lithograph 33.75” x 26.5” Ed of 40 2016 49.


SHERRY LEEDY CONTEMPORARY ART | 2004 Baltimore Avenue Kansas City MO 64108 816.221.2626 | www.sherryleedy.com

Hung Liu Catalog 2017-2018  
Hung Liu Catalog 2017-2018