It is with sadness and heavy hearts that we share our dear friend Hung Liu passed on Saturday, August 7th from cancer. As many may know, this disease is fast acting and we at the gallery are still in shock at the news. Hung had asked that her diagnosis be kept private while she navigated the gravity of the news.
We take some comfort in that in her final weeks she was busied with the anticipation of her show 'Portraits of Promised Lands,' which opens on August 27th at The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. She previewed the catalogue for the exhibition, and enjoyed the article written in the WSJ that was published over the weekend. She died peacefully knowing how much we all admired and loved her.
Hung spoke so eloquently not only about her work, but about the interconnection we all share with generations that came before us, and those who will carry on after we are gone. Regardless of time, race, position, we all carry within us shared experiences - living many lives within our own. Like the dandelion seeds she so beautifully painted, we all will face the unpredictability and imperfection of life, which carries in itself a special kind of beauty - the beauty of a life well-lived. As Hung says ‘Things of the spirit stay with us much longer than things of the flesh’ but like the many generations before us, we will persevere through times of sadness with grace and the knowledge that there are many who have made the journey ahead of us.
In her last talk at the gallery, Hung said “The physical layers are very important in my work, because it is a metaphor for the layers of life. Not just my generation, but my mother, my son, my adopted children and you all, my friends. I feel somehow, you live life for me and I live life for you.”
We will remember her incredible life-force, her kind and generous nature, her wit, enthusiasm, and her great talent. We are joyed in the knowledge that her legacy will live on through her paintings (her children, as she calls them).
We are holding her husband Jeff Kelley, her son Ling Chen Kelley, her daughter-in-law Juan Yu, and her one-year-old grandson Cas in our hearts. * Letters of condolence can be sent to: Jeff Kelly c/o Gail Severn Gallery, PO Box 1679, Ketchum, ID 83340