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An Artist's Self-Performance

            What is so important about lines? People often dismiss the significance of lines in artwork simply because there are supposed to be lines in every artwork. However, it is for this very reason that lines can be argued to be the most important aspect in a piece of art; they are the basis and core of the artwork. Lines can be used to determine the message of the artist in his or her piece and at the same time lines can also be used to trigger emotional responses from the viewer. By having a reaction to a piece of artwork the viewer is able to connect and relate with the artist on a deeper level than just a visual stimulus. .
             Hung Liu, a Chinese-born American contemporary artist, is famous for her interpretations of lines in the world of art. Hung Liu was born in 1948, Changchun China. At the age of 18 she started working as a peasant in the fields for four years during Mao's Cultural Revolution. It was there that she learned the ways of the working class. Shortly after, Liu returned to Beijing to study a Russian Social Realist style which required precise and hard-edged lines. This style prevented Liu from her sensibility as an artist. It was then that she gained a sense of independence and decided to study in the United States in 1980 to combine her values of social conformity with values of individual identity. She ties Western abstraction with Chinese tradition.
             Liu describes an artist's artwork as being their "self-performance;" that to create a compelling piece of art, the artist has to have "their body, their physical body have to be a part of it; they have to be engaging both mentally and physically." Often time people see artwork as a product of the artist when really it is much more; the painting, in a way, is the artist or at least an extension of that artist. Liu displays her emotion and theme in her artwork in her famous drip-style lines. The drips deliberately shows the imperfections as Liu explains that she "lets the wash drip and the paintings run thick," and even going as far as to erase the perfect parts.

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