Hung Liu (Chinese, b.1948) is a renowned painter, born in Changchun, China. In 1975, she attended Beijing Teachers College in Beijing, and after that she studied mural painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. As a young woman, Liu was sent to the Chinese countryside for four years during the Cultural Revolution. Enrolling at the University of California in San Diego, La Jolla, CA, she had to wait four years to receive a passport and finally graduated with an MFA in 1986. Most of Liu’s paintings have their basis in anonymous Chinese historical photographs.
In her works, she uses photographs of refugees, women, soldiers, and children. Some critics, pointing to her use of large and drippy paintings layered with linseed oil, claim that Liu is using her paintings to examine the strict academicism of the Chinese Socialist Realist style, the same style that was used to train her. Liu was one of the first Chinese artists to study in the United States, and thus her works can be used to represent the push-and-pull factor between immigration and migration. Examples of her paintings include Silk Road (1990), Dry Days (2004), and Hard Times (2010).
Liu has held numerous solo exhibitions in different places, including Foreign Students Dining Hall, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China (1981), Brazos Gallery, Richard College, Dallas, TX (1988), and Andrew Bae Gallery, Chicago, IL (2010). In addition, she has also participated in many group exhibitions in diverse places, such as Winter Palace Gallery, Beijing, China (1978), Asia Society Galleries, New York, NY (1994), and Selby Gallery, Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, FL (2010).
Liu is an accomplished artist, and over the years, she has received many awards, grants, and recognitions. Some of these include the Capp Street Project Stipend, San Francisco, CA (1988) and the Contemporary Art by Women of Color Artists’ Award, Guadalupe Cultural Center, San Antonio, TX (1990). Since 1990, Liu has been a professor of painting at Mills College, Oakland, CA. She is represented by the Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY, the Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA, and the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, Miami, FL. Liu currently lives and works in Oakland, CA.