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Totem

Totem

Liu’s Totem series features biological drawings rendered in delicate stitch work on raw canvas. They are centered around the spine, a part of the body that particularly resonates with Liu for its ability to store emotional and psychological information accumulated during our lifetimes and to express it in a physical way. From this anchor, strings are drawn taut or dangle like tentacles, much as relationships are cultivated, intertwined, or abandoned in our personal lives. The tension embodied by the stretched strings emphasizes the strength of the spine as the core of our physical selves and as a visual anchor within the compositions, yet it also alludes to the cumulative effects that personal experiences can have on the body. Occasionally, Liu has affixed small found objects to the canvas, relics of everyday life that were once lost but are now contained within protective wooden boxes. In World Inside Rainbow, an alphabet stitched along the bottom of the canvas refers to a story about a man who, though illiterate, yearns to pray but can only write the alphabet. The man believes that the Creator knows what is in his heart, so he writes the alphabet down in faith that the Creator will assemble the letters into meaning and answer his prayers. The letters are thereby transformed into a universal means of communication, in which intention supersedes the order of language.

Written by Jennifer Field

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Totem