Thursday, 1 March 2018 // 5PM
Warren Lecture Hall 2005

Hung Liu currently lives in Oakland, California, and is a tenured professor of painting at Mills College. She is a UC San Diego, Visual Arts MFA Alumna. Liu has received numerous awards, grants and recognitions throughout her career, including two Painting Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has been exhibited around the world and resides in the permanent collections of many prestigious institutions, including Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; Oakland Museum of California; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; San Jose Museum of Art, California; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among many others. She is represented by multiple prominent galleries, including the Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, New York.

One of the first Chinese artists to study in the United States, Hung Liu is widely regarded for a vast and innovative body of highly evocative paintings, murals, drawings, printmaking and installation. Characterized by the expressive, painterly effects of Western Modernism and Chinese decorative motifs, her work is richly layered. She frequently references anonymous historical photographs of China and, with deft technique, breathes new life into individuals lost in the sweep of history, particularly Chinese women, children, refugees, peasants, prostitutes and soldiers. In essence, Liu turns old photographs into new paintings, liberated from the rigid methodology of socialist realism – the style in which she was trained – by merging both Eastern and Western traditions. Over the years, Liu has incorporated more and more paint drips into her work, achieved by thinning the pigments with linseed oil. Gravity, her “sacred collaborator”, pulls the paint downward and divides the composition in interesting, unpredictable ways. This effect simultaneously unifies and dissolves the photo-based imagery, suggesting the passage of memory into history.

Image: Hung Liu, Strings (Persephone), 2015, mixed media on panel