Through his innovative technique and mastery of traditional Chinese painting, Liu Dan does not strive to muddle his subject with politics of or? false novelty, but instead purely depicts the natural object in an interpretation that alters the perspective of the viewer. In Poppy II, he exquisitely uses his brush in order to delicately render meticulous, almost photographic, details of an opium poppy, one of the artist’s favorite subject matters since the mid-1990s. The whispering petals murmur in the breeze as they envelope the soft center of the flower. Deconstructing what he sees in nature, Liu Dan recreates the delicate poppy flower with a monumental and seemingly rock-like permanence, leading the viewer from their own perceptions into his fluid and expansive world.
Liu Dan explains his doctrine as an artist: “Your one responsibility as an artist is changing the visual experience of people, the way they look at things. Your one purpose is to encourage an openness of mind that allows them to look beyond everyday concerns and think freely.” As Liu Dan’s large detailed renderings of poppies are rare, Poppy II is a magnificent example of the artist’s superb usage of ink and brush and his ability to transform tangible objects into ethereal fantasies in order to change the viewer’s perspective of everyday objects.
Born in Nanjing, Liu Dan attended the Jiangsu Traditional Chinese Painting Institute. Although he studied in China, the artist only began to associate his art with classical Chinese paintings after he moved in 1981 to the United States. He was able to study from the extensive museum collections of not only Chinese paintings, but also works of the European Medieval and Renaissance masters. Through these wide areas of study, Liu Dan is able to create works of art that though intrinsically Chinese, speak to a global audience.