Interregnum, painted by the Chinese artist Hung Liu, is a massive oil painting created circa 2002. With the intentional application of several principles and elements of art in her work, Liu effectively depicts her late Asian culture’s traditional aspects while also exposing the harsh reality of China’s Communist society. Hung Liu incorporates a variety of styles into Interregnum while also utilizing color and line to visually communicate the subject matter to the viewer. In a formal interpretation of this work, the overarching theme of Interregnum will be explored and described, focusing on the particular values sought out by the artist Hung Liu.
Liu integrates several artistic styles into her painting, creating an overall unified style of her own. Juxtaposing non-representational characteristics with naturalistic techniques adds variety to the work. The crane, dragon, and two women represent traditional Chinese practices that are commonly recognized around the world. These figures are a type of idealized art portraying the values and culture of China’s ancestral history. The whimsical, dream-like features surrounding the iconic figures infer the obliviousness of society to notice the dark realities of modern day China. Liu also suggests hints of abstract expression in the background to contrast with and emphasize the two focal areas of interest. The approach of painting the laboring men realistically highlights their life-like qualities, enhancing the viewer’s relationship to the subject.
Color plays an important role of establishing and informing Hung Liu’s intended theme for Interregnum. Through the use of complementary colors, she achieves great contrast. Contrasting hues develop a theme of lig...
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... aspects of her Chinese origins. According to the painting, not all life in China is surrounded by beauty and elegance, like many believe it to be based on the traditional historical customs. Liu makes her point using a brilliant yet subtle progression, moving from the ideal to reality. Making use of the various principles and elements of art in her work creates a careful visual composition that benefit and support the painting’s achievements as a whole. This oil painting, being approximately 13 years old now, will hold a special place in Chinese history for the rest of its existence. The ideas Hung Liu portrays in Interregnum may help reform a social movement in the country by making her viewers socially aware of the cruel conditions the Chinese are facing under Communist rule, and this is all made possible through the assimilation of the principles and elements.
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