With sparse sophistication, Crystal Liu transforms elements of nature into a lexicon of characters that enact imaginative narratives with ominous undertones. Liu’s inventive use of glitter animates her work with an unexpected counterpoint to the turmoil depicted.
In the series “what sparkles,” a snake in love with a garden sets the stage for a drama of jealousy, obsession, greed, and destruction. Here flora and fauna experience the brutal consequences of extreme human emotions. In a second series, “what a drag,” characters from previous bodies of work float through an ambiguous landscape, moored to a cloud with a knotted rope. In another, more light-hearted series, “Papercakes,” Liu imagines cakes made of paper in celebration of the traditional gift marking the first year of marriage.
Crystal Liu was born in Canada to Chinese immigrants. She received her MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2005 and currently lives in San Francisco.