In the course of Chinese contemporary art, Liu Wei is the first artist to consecutively participate in the Venice Biennale (1993 and 1995), and the São Paulo Art Biennial.
Starting in 2004, landscapes and nature became common subjects in Liu's paintings, and the subject of flowers that he shows great preference for has long become his distinctive signature, and is depicted in his works from different stylistic phases. In 2006, Liu also made the decisive move to relocate his studio to the Songzhuang Lama Village. The countryside ambience drew Liu closer to nature, and his internal transformation also naturally prompted his stylistic shift toward landscape paintings. Through a process of reflection and contemplation, he was able to return to mankind's most primal and pure state of being. Because of this change by 2006, Liu was able to cast away the dullness and solemn tones observed in his initial landscape attempts in 2004. With Orchids, he opted for the new approach of subtle colors, with the seemingly vacant canvas recounting gracefully the Taoist philosophy of being one with nature.
Liu's landscape paintings are great expressions inspired fully by his internal emotions. Orchids revisits the classical landscape hand-scroll format, and presents an image with a vast void. Visually, it gives the obvious implication of the artist's internal solitude, and like an ancient literatus, Liu also inscribed the painting with the following poetic verses by Li Bai, the great Tang Dynasty poet, 'A solitary orchid grows in a secluded garden, as common weeds conspire to submerge it.' The poem is used to express the feeling of seclusion, as kindred spirits are hard to come by, and gives the painting an added touch of melancholy. As an artist, Liu is profoundly aware that the journey of art is paved with psychological obstacles of loneliness, and great as Li Bai was, he too was confronted with the emotion of not being understood.
Free-flowing elements expressed in Orchids are created through Liu's improvised and constructed through an enjoyable image composed with perpetual movements between the intangible and the tangible. In the West, Egon Schiele's landscape art also utilizes empty voids and gentle brushstrokes to portray the unyielding quality observed in plants and trees, which makes an apt comparison to Liu's Orchids.
The universal cycle of life and death is expressed fully in Liu's paintings of blooming and withering flowers; even though he seems to graze by the subject ever so lightly and delicately. Upon closer inspection of Orchids, Liu has taken on the approach of overruling the complex with simplicity with his brushstrokes and has stripped the orchid from its realistic contour, as it becomes a vague image of floral resemblance. The beauty of Liu's art lies in his ability to make the most straightforward communication, with connections made with the viewer through dual interactions of the senses and the mind. His art transcends time and space and wanders freely between the internal realm and the visual art world.