This summer Turner Carroll Gallery is pleased to present new work by world-renowned Chinese artist Hung Liu. Liu has one of the most compelling stories of any living artist. She grew up in China under the repressive government of Mao, and worked in the wheat fields 364 days each year during China's Cultural Revolution. She is a woman of obvious fortitude, adapting to the hard work during the Cultural Revolution in China, and then to her life of phenomenal critical acclaim as an artist in the U.S.
Hung's work currently hangs in the Palm Springs Museum of Art--the final stop of her touring, 4 city, museum retrospective. The retrospective was accompanied by a new monograph on her work.
Hung Liu’s new body of work for Turner Carroll features an incredible range of portraiture and still life subject matter, both of which comment on her unique and complex history and experience growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution. In the case of her portraiture, Hung paints people she encountered during her time working in the countryside. She paints peasants as if they are royalty, thus giving them a posthumous life of grandeur. Likewise, she paints the common dandelion as if it were the most gorgeous flower in nature, with the detail of a religious icon.
These vibrant dandelions are based off of photographs that Hung Liu took while traveling to different national parks across the United States. It is interesting to note her “American” subject matter and how she portrays the different dandelions…some are in full bloom waiting to be blown, some are retracting – closing their petals to protect themselves from the dangers of the world, and some are wilting, representing the passing of life.
Dandelions are resilient and robust, survivors of the plant world that adapt and protect themselves in order to thrive. As their seeds spread abundantly they represent a passing of time, new life, and the concept of letting go and starting fresh. They are traveling plants that represent good luck, good health, and the impermanence of life.
For Hung Liu, the dandelion represents the ability to start fresh in a new country as she did in the United States when she arrived 1984 and finding her place in a new world.