Born in Beijing in 1967, Liu Yuanshou is one of China’s most respected and prominent contemporary painters. Painting with oil on canvas, Liu creates powerful scenes featuring women wrapped in bright red silk. They seem to be distraught, desperately struggling to escape their own misery.
Silkworm culture and the the production of silk textiles has always been an important part of Jiangsu's (north of Shanghai) history. Because of this, silk is especially evident in Liu's art, which primarily focuses on portraits of young women from the Jiangsu region. The artist is known for dressing his sultry subjects in Shanghai period or modern-day regional attire, as well as for integrating well-researched architectural elements and interiors from Jiangsu's urban and rural areas.
"Red was the color of China in the 70s and it represented more than just a color—it’s a complicated conception," says Liu. "It’s also closely related to women in many ways.
"During my exhibitions overseas, the audience conceived my works as related to sex or restraint. I think they’re all of those things as my intention was kind of complex and ambiguous. The subject is neat, but the concept is flexible, and the combination provides a lot of potentials and possibilities for creation."
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