photo: Jeff KelleyPhotographs and Painting
Hung Liu's canvases are expressive, painterly evocations of history, usually inspired by photographic imagery retrieved from archival sources in China and America. Her paintings often bestow monumental significance upon individuals, including her close relatives, who would be little remembered beyond their immediate circles. The parallels and contrasts Liu offers between seemingly unheroic people -- those who have triumphed over pain and adversity as individuals -- and those who merit recognition on a grand scale bring new appreciation to the people, history, and politics of everyday life.
This group of paintings deals with both Chinese and American subjects, including the last Chinese dynasty, American immigration, and Liu's family history, which spans both cultures. All of them are concerned with how we perceive our own and the culture of others, and how conceptions of individual identity are always affected by fluid relations between the two.