Hung Liu – Cottonfield
Dimensions: 50 x 70″
Media: mixed media on panel
The woman in Hung Liu‘s “Cottonfield” gazes out at the viewer with an unwavering sense of confidence and beauty. Presented before a silver background, the young woman appears in nearly monochromatic dress and two sprigs of cotton. The soft purple circle and brush strokes that flank the figure provide the piece with a soft, delicate feel. Despite being extremely overworked in the fields, her portrait exudes a sense of determination and optimism to tackle the future, no matter what it holds.
Liu first discovered the Dorothea Lange photographic archive in 2015. She immediately became fascinated by the struggles of the migrants in Lange’s Dust Bowl Era photographs. Liu is empathetic because, like them, Hung Liu herself was forced to leave her home during the Cultural Revolution of her childhood in China. And ironically, like Dorothea Lange, Hung Liu used a camera (in Liu’s case, a smuggled one) to document the struggles of the people she encountered during that time. This painting shows Liu’s fascination with the way we care for one another, even when we can barely care for ourselves. Liu explores the sensitivity of children in her current body of work titled “Catcher in the Rays.” Inspired by “Catcher in the Rye,” in which Catcher is the child who tries desperately to keep civilization from falling into an abyss, Liu paints children as resilient guides to show humanity a positive way forward.