My first exposure to the work of Hung Liu was in high school during a visit to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art nearly seven years ago. I remember being fascinated by a particular piece depicting a woman in traditional Chinese garments- a painting layered with various levels of resin, gold leaf, and paint. Her work seemed to transcend both figurative and abstract styles, finding a way between both representation and non-objective mark-making and paint splatters.
Her recent solo show at Sherry Leedy - organized by art dealer Toma Wolff - was a stunning display of large scale oil paintings in addition to smaller ceramic work. Everything featured some form of portratiture - a range of faces and styles. My favorite works were those that referenced "The Migrant Worker" photograph by Dorothea Lange. Researching her work online, I realized this is a common narrative, a focus of the migrant farm worker - laborers of the earth - as well as the more harrowing elements of farming life.
Her style has changed since I saw her work last. Her new large scale paintings are purely oil paint-based and contains colorful underpainting that shows through in the subtle outlines of the figures. The resulting imagery is reminiscent of Wayne Thiebaud's portraiture with similar line work. Her thick paintings give you more information as you move closer into the picture, examining the heavy brushstrokes emphasizing features and movement.
We were fortunate enough to meet the artist. Above is a photo of Sharon Grandischnig, Hung Liu, and myself- Mark Allen. Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and hope you have time to check out Hung Liu at Sherry Leedy open throughout the month of November.