Hung Liu – Village Portrait: The Broken Bridge
Dimensions: 13.75 x 10.5″ finished size / 13.75 x 10.5″ unframed
Medium: mixed media (duotone) on panel
This image is a self portrait of Hung Liu, taken during the time period she worked in Chinese wheat and rice fields during the Cultural Revolution. The process is a duotone technique, in which gold leaf is laid down prior to the photographic image being placed upon it.
Hung Liu, working with master printer David Salgado, developed a unique method of creating her mixed media works in which she places layers of resin, paint, and metal leaf on panel. This process creates the impression of great depth in her works, as well as a sheen reminiscent of Chinese porcelain. The inspiration for this technique came from her public art installation at the Oakland Airport, titled “Going Away, Coming Home,” where she had the opportunity to paint on glass. She loved the way the sunlight emanated through the translucent layers of paint. This led her to seek the same luminescence in other of her works. These mixed media resin works could be described as illuminated paintings, for multiple reasons. One reason is the fact that these mixed media resin works begin with metal leaf (often gold) on panel, in the same the manner as a Russian icon would be painted. The gold represents the sanctity of the subject; a covering of the natural world (represented by the wooden panel’s surface) with the sacred and pure. Another reason these works can be regarded as “illuminated” is the obvious implication of light emanating from within them as light bounces off the base layer of metal leaf and reflects back through the layers of paint. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum at the University of Oregon houses the largest collection of Hung Liu’s mixed media paintings.