Liu Ye (Chinese - 1964)
Liu Ye spent most of the 1990s in Europe, first in Germany and then in Holland, where he spent time as an artist-in-residence.
It was here that the artist first encountered works of art by Mondrian and Vermeer, two artists whose use of color, line and composition would inform Liu Ye’s own paintings throughout his career.
The cast of characters in Liu Ye’s work often find themselves standing in front of a Mondrian painting, an object which the artist identifies as “a balanced, graceful and pure picture that projects a sense of serenity.”
However, despite their cheery primary palette and varied art historical references, Liu Ye’s paintings have a darker undertone.
In “Night,” a topless young girl sits ensconced in a sea of dark blue wearing only white underpants and one red shoe; in “Sword,” two identical young girls face each other across a blood red vista, each with dagger in hand.
There is a strong sense of innocence lost in these paintings, no doubt the result of growing up in the throes of Mao’s China where childhood was controlled and often compromised.