The Truly Humbling Paintings of Hung Liu

The artist's works reveal a deep compassion for the victims of history and stand as her greatest works.

By Alex Bigman for the East Bay Express on April 10, 2013

Her paintings read as attempts to rescue these sufferers from the oblivion of history, exalting them without at all diminishing the hardness that characterized their lives.

Liu typically sources her scenes from found photographs, which she then transposes onto canvas through a distinctive process of drippy brush strokes and washes, giving them a worn quality. Rendered thus, her subjects take on a materiality beyond paint smears on a flat surface: They become like ancient specimens petrified in amber...Liu gravitates toward images of the downtrodden and exploited: prostitutes working for the Chinese upper class, field laborers, a row of emaciated men sold into slave labor in Japan.

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For more on MFA Alumna Hung Liu's work, please visit:

Image credit: Hung Liu's "Mu Nu (Mother and Daughter)"
courtesy of the Artist and East Bay Express

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