Statement + Bio

Artist Statement

I have explored painting throughout my adult life in different ways -- first collage and acrylic painting, and then hand-painted paper collages that were very graphical and geometric. While working as a graphic and web designer, I taught myself screen-printing, which led to my line of hand-printed apparel.

I began this recent body of abstract painting while screen-printing some other work. I’ve been creating paintings using colors borrowed from printing such as fluorescent inks, and implements including squeegees, old credit cards, and spatulas. I tend to paint in layers created with drips, brushes, spoons, and incorporate different types of paint including urethanes, house paint, as well as acrylics.

In this work I’m exploring aspects of control and lack of control, boundaries and edges. There’s an element of choice in colors and to some extent how the colors are placed, but there’s also a feeling of the unknown as some colors are poured and mixed over previous layers of paint. Some of my paintings tend to make their own edges or boundaries depending on the slope of the floor and how much paint is used, and how they dry — sometimes more transparent and sometimes more opaque. There’s a feeling of comfort in the act of painting, and then also a tension around the outcome. The process seeks to ride this edge of hopefulness, anticipation, and excitement, and be present to the discomfort of the unknown, and potential disappointment. There is also a feeling of transience and impermanence in the forms that manifest.  

The edges and lines can be blurry, clear, soft, thick or hard. I’m interested in these qualities and what they conjure up. I think that the colors, shapes and forms are conversing with one another -- that they are in relationships that are simultaneously spontaneous and planned. On one hand, while some colors may not seem copacetic together, they tend to develop their own special way of being with one another. Their own unique harmony develops.


An Li Liu was born in Guelph, Ontario Canada and lived in Toronto for over a decade before moving to the US. She resided in Boston, MA for around six years, and then moved to Berkeley in 2014. She attended the University of Toronto majoring in Cinema Studies and Religion. An Li then studied New Media Design and worked in the industry as a web and graphic designer. She is a traveller at heart having traversed much of South and South East Asia where colors and energies are very potent. An Li delved into yoga practices with a special interest in Buddhist philosophy and then became a yoga instructor herself several years ago. While An Li took formal art classes in University, she is mainly a self-taught artist with many influences — everything from sublime landscapes and atmospheres to streetscapes and modern living.