Li typically uses a somber palette and passage of paint that drips and pools, reflecting the wistful, isolated nature of her subjects. Lonely planet (2009) proves one exception. In it, a precisely formed globe appears atop an uncomplicated, solidly painted background. The cheerfully colored orb is upside down, with two small characters posed on top. Rather than depict a moment of solitude, Li decided to present an instance of human interaction—perhaps even a moment of consolation.
Unlike his predecessors, who captured specific social and political histories, Li is interested in painting individual, subjective realities. His works exemplify a shift in contemporary art practices in China, wherein artists’ work transcend regional specificities and relate to broader, global themes.