Artist Spotlight: Beili Liu
I’m a big fan of Beili Liu. I find her work emotionally captivating and infused with sublime beauty. Born in Jilin, China, Liu lives and works in Austin, Texas and is an Associate Professor of Art at The University of Texas at Austin.
Whether the art is contained to a canvas or manifest on a grander scale as a site-specific installation piece, Liu utilizes the simplest of materials to infuse herself into a compelling narrative experience.
Throughout Liu’s work, I am struck by a delicacy that speaks of vulnerability and yet projects a fearless quality that defies its fragility.
The first work of Liu’s that I discovered were her incense drawings. These works are done by layering rice paper on a board and then “drawing” on the surface with lit incense. This series of eight panels, 26″ x 52″ each, is called Yun Yan.
The Mending Project features the artist seated in the center of the space under a thousand pair of suspended shears while sewing pieces of fabric together that viewers have cut from a larger piece and placed at her table.
Another installation favorite of mine is the Lure Series, a site responsive installation in which Liu creates thousands of coils in red thread and suspends each with the piercing of a needle. As viewers walk through the installation, the coils lift and sway creating a living wave effect.
These Wind Drawings are so beautiful when seen in-person. The artist suspends ink in an alcohol base and drips it onto velum through a straw. She then uses her breath through the straw to move the pigment across the canvas.
I hope you enjoy this latest in the Artist Spotlight series. Look for more throughout the year.