Sexy and subversive, Lui Liu‘s paintings reveal complex worlds in which women oscillate between positions of power and submission. Lui Liu began his career painting posters during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Though he has lived in Canada since 1991, Lui Liu’s political influences are inseparable from the thematic foci of his artworks, which are largely wrought with political, sexual and social tensions. For example, Cat’s Cradle (2006) features two young girls playing the string game of the same name. A brick wall divides them. They nevertheless, reach across to one another through an opening in the shape of China, while a hawk, a symbol for authority, flies overhead.
Throughout time, flowers have stood as symbols of beauty. Their vibrant color and pleasant aroma has made them integral parts of rituals around the world. To see them as bouquets and arrangements in the background is common in many cultures. Floral artist Kirk Cheng pays tribute to flowers by making attention grabbing displays, which take beauty that is normally glanced over and push it to the center of attention. Cheng creates wall gardens of seasonal plants, drawing the symbolism found in the plant’s color or species. Behind the glass of sleek dioramas, they look like perfectly preserved specimens from some other dreamy world.
San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum kicked off their “summer of contemporary” this June with their new showcase, “28 Chinese”. The full sweeping exhibition is brought to us by Miami collectors and Museum founders, Mera and Don Rubell of the Rubell Family Collection. Comprised of painting, photography, video work, sculpture and large-scale installations, “28 Chinese” is an exploration into modern Chinese art. Working in contemporary methods, the selected artists often delve into their relationship with traditional Chinese culture by way of conceptual processes. See more photos from the exhibition after the jump.
As of 2014, Contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei (previously covered here) remains under restrictions of movement- but he continues to criticize the Chinese regime through his art. Opening tomorrow, the Faurschou Foundation Copenhagen in Denmark will showcase some of his most notable pieces to date, including new sculptures, with “Ruptures.” The exhibition is named for the rupture in Weiwei’s career by the Chinese government, while showcasing the staying power of his work.
Somewhere between the state from wakefulness to sleep, called “the Hypnagogic state”, is where Hong Kong based digital artist Sonya Fu finds her inspiration. Her portraits of dreamy young girls, whose eyes almost always appear closed, are the ghosts of her visions during sleep paralysis. Although digital, they are painted with a sensitive touch to surprising details in their face and hair, and given a soft, eerie atmosphere. Check out more of her artwork after the jump.
Lin Tianmiao is considered one of today’s most notorious contemporary artists in China, especially among women who are under-represented there in her field. Her signature medium is everyday materials, particularly woven textile such as silk, which she uses to convey modern women’s frustrations and identity. This has earned her the “feminist artist” label, one that she rejects. Male or female, her cryptic and ethereal works have captured the imagination for decades. Her “Focus” portrait photo series is currently on view in the “Conceal/Reveal: Making Meaning in Chinese Art” group showing at Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAM).