Desperately Seeking Nuance

Nobody ever accused me of being subtle. And what I enjoy in art is usually pretty bold, the product of big brushes, lots of paint, simple forms.

Recently, on the show Spark, our local PBS-affiliate’s “arts” show, I met an artist who applies all of the above and then adds a level of nuance and subtly that left me gap-mouthed.

Her name is Hung Liu. She grew up in China and was sent to the country to be “re-educated” during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Today she lives in Oakland and paints large-scale portraits from old photos of peasants, prostitutes, workers and the like.

Click for a great video of her working and talking about her work.

My art practice has a real pendulum feeling to me and my enthusiasm for Hung Lui is propelling that pendulum in a new direction.

First all I wanted to do was paint something recognizable. I may not always accomplish this, but I do understand something about how it works. So, check.

Then I wanted to paint something with more paint and composition interest…more abstract. Maybe check. Or semi-check, I’d say.

Now I’m starting to think about painting something that is more of my imagination. Something that does all of the above but goes beyond. Hung Liu’s drips and imaginary objects/symbols are an example of this kind of work.

No check mark on this one. It’s just gelling in my mind. But it will be interesting to see where this idea takes the pendulum.

Categorized as Art Tagged

By Joanne

Joanne Taeuffer is an expressive painter. She lives in the Berkeley Hills and Healdsburg, CA, with her husband and their black cats, Oscar Wild and Percy.

1 comment

  1. Interesting subject on the evolution of your art. Can’t wait to see where this next phase takes you! I am excited to see you “gelling” tonight! Congratulations!

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