Hung Liu (刘虹) (born February 17, 1948) is a Chinese-born American contemporary artist. One of the first Chinese artists to establish a career in the West, Liu is regarded by many as "the greatest Chinese painter in the US."Liu’s paintings typically feature layered brushstrokes combined with washes of linseed oil which gives the imagery an indistinct and drippy appearance. Various commenters have suggested that this visual strategy's surrealism and its absence of Socialist political drive can be seen as the opposite of (or a rejoinder to) the rigid academicism of the Chinese Socialist Realist style in which Liu was trained. It has also been characterized as a metaphor for the loss of historical memory: the dripping in Liu's paintings is described by art critic Bill Berkson as “analogous to memory” and how “[memory] is blurred.” Given the pathos that often infuses her works, her painting style has been described by Liu's partner, critic and curator Jeff Kelley, as a kind of "weeping realism."Liu's paintings and prints often make use of anonymous Chinese historical photographs, particularly those of women, children, refugees, and soldiers, as subject matter. Many are drawn from the artist's personal collection of 19th century Chinese photographs, a large portion of which feature prostitutes. Liu believes her paintings “gives a spirit to them, the forgotten.” As curator Réne de Guzman writes, her paintings bring details of Chinese history and memory into the present for American viewer. Writing for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Kelley suggests that Liu's paintings "challenge the documentary authority of historical photographs by subjecting them to the more reflective process of painting [...] Much of the meaning in her paintings comes from the way the washes and drips dissolve the photo-based images, suggesting the passage of memory into history."Since the late 1990s Liu has occasionally taken historical photographs of non-Chinese women, refugees, migrants, workers, and children as a point of departure. Her Strange Fruit paintings of the early to mid 2000s depicted Korean "comfort women" forced to serve as prostitutes for Japanese soldiers in the second World War. Several of her paintings draw imagery from the portrait and documentary photographs of the Chinese populace by John Thomson. In her American Exodus series, Liu addresses American subject matter, creating images of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression after the photographs of Dorothea Lange.Although thought of predominantly as a painter, her body of work moves fluidly between painting, mixed-media and site-specific installation. Pieces such Goddess of Love/Goddess of Liberty incorporate significant mixed-media elements (often antique or hand-made objects) either installed in close proximity to or mounted directly onto the piece. Liu cites her installation work as a continuation of the principles she utilizes as a muralist "an ability to work in large scale and to take the site specificity of the situation into account. Creating an installation merely required pushing the work out into the third dimension". Liu's paintings also often incorporate a sculptural dimensionality through the use of custom canvases shaped to the contours of their subject matter.

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