The way the objects are arranged in the “Lost and Found” works also speaks to Liu’s penchant for organizing things in a visually pleasing way. This, too, she explained, is informed by early memories. She recalls going to a bakery on Sundays with her father as a kid and staring at the stacks of pastries and breads. “They were always laid out and organized in a beautiful manner,” she said.
In other bodies of work, Liu includes depictions of the human spine, which also signal back to her formative years. At one point in her life, Liu had numbness in her hand and arm, and started thinking about the internal discomforts and pain that people endure. “I realized it had everything to do with how I grew up and the interaction I had with my father, that he was somewhat abusive,” she said. “That made me understand that your body retains not just physical damage, but emotional perforations.” Initially, she stitched small images of the spine into her canvases. Later, with her “41” series, she began embroidering spines onto paper, applying pieces of red tape to represent critical moments and turning points in life.
In a recent series of paintings, Liu directly reflected on her family. “I won’t say we were a conservative family, but we didn’t talk about sex, we never saw each other naked, there was no discussion about what happens in the human body,” she explained, noting that this dynamic would fascinate her later in life. Her original idea for the series was to portray very intimate stories inspired by family photographs. “They ended up becoming these very nude, large, fluid paintings,” she explained.