The paintings of Liu Ye are steeped in fantastic images and vivid colors, private symbols and allusions which can only be half-comprehended by the viewer. The artist spent much of his early career in Europe, and his exposure to his favorite artists of Western art history have remained ever-present in his works since. These include Vermeer and Mondrian, whose influences can be found in the architectural lines of the composition and the dramatic, almost stagey, lighting of his figures.
At the age of 15, Liu Ye underwent rigorous training in industrial design. He was both repelled and attracted to the perfection required, and eventually found great satisfaction from meticulous execution of linear compositions, what he referred to as 'strictly controlled passion'. It is perhaps this initial training that prompted the artist's interest in Mondrian and his inclusion of allusions to the artist's own works in his paintings. These parallel influences help provide some insight into the impulses behind Liu's mysterious and engaging works.
Liu has said, 'I have equal passion for fairy tales and philosophy. Fairytales are full of imagination and sensitivity whereas philosophy requires strict and rational thinking. Fairytales and philosophy represent two extreme poles of thinking. My paintings roam between these two poles, at times more towards one pole and at other times towards the opposite pole. Only some clues, incomplete ones, indicate the cause and effect behind my creative motives. But, can anyone examine his or her own self inside out?'