Hung Liu In Print invites viewers to explore the relationship between the artist’s multi-layered paintings and the palpable, physical qualities of her works on paper. To make her prints, Liu (b. 1948) uses an array of printing and collage techniques, developing highly textured surfaces, veils of color, and screens of drip marks that transform the figures in each composition. Describing printmaking as “poetry,” she emphasizes the spontaneity of the layering process, which allows each image to build organically with each successive layer.
Before immigrating to California in 1984, Liu grew up during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in China, where she worked alongside fieldworkers and trained as a painter. Adapting figures from historical Chinese photographs, Liu reimagines antique depictions of laborers, refugees, and prostitutes. Her multifaceted oeuvre probes the human condition and confronts issues of culture, identity, and personal and national history.
Best known as a painter, Liu ably translates the “weeping realism” that characterizes her canvases into the medium of prints. This focus exhibition highlights selected prints from the collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts as well as the artist’s related tapestry designs.