Beili Liu was born in a small village in Northeast Chinese Province of Jiling and grew up in the city of Shenzhen before moving to the United States to study art. Her personal experience of migration spans a rural setting with hand-built houses, a swiftly growing city with an ever-changing skyline, and the shift into a completely new culture of a foreign country.
Beili's work evokes a visceral reaction in me viscerally and ignites investigation in my psychologically. First, her treatment of recognizable materials in overwhelming numbers and composition appeals to my interest in recognizable materials, scale, and repetition. With her work, she addresses themes that are deeply personal but also timely and public.
Beili's Work and Mine
Visually, Beili's installations are often comprised of multiples of a single thing: bricks, wax strands, threads, scissors, spirals, etc. Her commitment to the material she uses is perhaps the strongest connection between our work. In my work up to this point, I have used this idea of repetition in great numbers to create a mass mostly in creating a texture in my paper works, but I'm interested in the use of repeated images or items to create its own meaning or effect entirely. Beili's work also has a sensitivity to gravity and weight that I deeply envy. In my paper cuttings and continuing work, I feel that when my figures obey or defy gravity has some relevance that I would like to push further.
Conceptually, I am most drawn to Beili's pieces that address themes of feminism or women's experiences. However, Beili's work handles many themes that I have no personal stake in. Her work succeeds in taking a concept that is personal and intimate to her and making it feel more universal and broad, something at which I seek to improve. In more recent works, it seems she has been able to connect her personal themes with public issues. Her work sees the question, "What can I do?" and attempts to answer. I have not yet managed to get my own work to respond to this pressure.