Painting is an effective tool for reflecting artists’ feeling and emotions, sufferings, frustrations. It also discloses what is impossible to see in reality. Pictures can display people’s vices and virtues. All facets of human life are revealed on the paintings of two great artists – Alice Neel and Hung Liu.
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Using different techniques for disarming various ideas, both artists put the reality to the forth. However, Neel’s paintings convey social value of art where the artist attempts to portray the essence of human lives. Moreover, she tries to capture the people’s hidden truths and psychological state through strokes, lines, and colors.
In contrast, Liu is also attached to disclosing people’s fates and their role in culture and history but through the use of drip techniques. Though both artists are committed to different styles, their portraits render the power of relations through invigorating various gestures movements, postures, and objects associated with loss, anxiety, and psychological states.
It should be stressed that both artists attain the importance to lines in their painting, using its quality and forms to exaggerate or highlight either psychological nature or cultural issues. However, the tools for representation do not dominate in the pictures; rather, they emphasize the importance of themes they explore.
Hence, Neel made of use of lines to create a portrait in name, but in fact the portraits she painted were abstract presentations of psychological relations. In her painting depicting Nancy and the Twins, Neel depicts such important and painful themes for her as children and motherhood. Looking at the canvas, one can notice Neel’s concerns with the description of a specific person.
In documentary film Alice Neel released in 2007, the artists itself stated, “Whether I am painting or not, I have this overwhelming interest in humanity. Even if I am not working, I’m still analyzing people” (Alice Neel, n. p.) Interpreting this, all her paintings encapsulate a deep psychological analysis that comes to the forth, but not a physical appearance.
Hung Liu is also more concerned with portraying people from different epochs whose fates are attached to Cultural Revolution in China. Having a very sharp sense of history, the artist makes use of drip techniques that serve as figurative metaphors depicting the loss of cultural memory.
In her masterpieces, Hung incorporates those drips to make people understand that each person is a part of history and culture. Those drips are both dissolving and unifying; these created lines highlight the importance of figurative representations. Like Neel, Hung is also attached to the power of relations between artistic techniques and people’s fates and psychological states (Sayre 48).
In conclusion, it should be stressed that both artists are more attached to abstract representations of key themes of humanity. Though they depict the power of relations through the use of different techniques, both of them attain little important to the description of appearance.
All objects, lines, and strokes serve to convey in-depth ideas and concerns that are closely connected with the artists’ life. In addition, although Hung’s masterpieces seems to be more abstract and less transparent, Neel’s representations of human sole just as the way she sees it also amazes with it artlessness and directness. Experimenting on styles and approaches, Neel and Hung seem to be highly loyal to their philosophical goals and artistic themes.
Alice Neel Dir. Andrew Neel. Perf. Alice Neel, Michel, Auder, Philip Bonosky. See Think Films, 2007, Film.
Sayre, Henry M. A Word of Art. US: Pearson Education, 2009. Print.