I went to see Hung Lui's show at the Palm Springs Art Museum "Summoning Ghosts: The Art of Hung Lui", last week. It was an excellent show and quite thought provoking for me. She moved to the US from China the same year I did, 1984. She works on large scale paintings, that are really statements about the reality of the lives of the Chinese people with a sort of cultural overlay. She would use a photo of a peasant women with two children in baskets , maybe at a market selling her meager wares, also on the paintings are symbols of old china, stylized birds, cherry blossom. I found her work to be very political , if political work critiques the human condition so brilliantly. I was also struck by her skill in evaluating each piece , so that its completion was totally individual. She may have incorporated a bird cage in one piece, or shelves for a teapot and cups in another, yet there was never a sense of the resolution of the paintings ,being a blanket solution. I was especially taken by a painting that showed several women exercising using strong diagonals. She used a shaped canvas to outline the women and then put a red rectangle at the bottom.I took a photo of the work and will show it at the end.
In the basement of the museum there was a show of photography "Jennifer Karady: In country ,soldiers stories from Iraq and Afghanistan". Apparently she worked with returning Veterans to recreate a story from their wartime experience, and then photograph it with their family right there. This has the effect, similarly to Hung Lui's work of combining two disparate worlds in the same image. Lui's were modern day China with China's past , in these photographs, past war stories with the current lives of soldiers, depicted like a stylized tableau.