Liu Dan was born in Nanjing and attended Jiangsu Traditional Chinese Painting Institute where he studied under renowned artist Ya Ming. Even though Liu was trained as an artist in China, it was in the United States where he began to associate himself with classical Chinese painting. In 1981 Liu moved to the US, and the Chinese painting collections at various American museums gave him an unprecedented opportunity to learn about the splendor of classical Chinese art, thus urging him to re-connect with his own cultural heritage.
Liu’s signature imagery is his scrupulous, almost photographic depiction of flowers, rocks and landscapes, manifested through his superb skill in ink and brush. Since the 1980s, Liu became intrigued by rocks. To him rocks are the most elemental component in Chinese landscape painting. Traditionally artists have composed landscape paintings utilizing rocks as a model for creating mountains and routes that require new interpretations of temporal and spatial dimensions. Through meticulously studying a small rock, Liu attempts to see the wider universe from a microscopic view. He transforms a tangible object into an imaginary landscape which constantly refreshes his spirit. His aspiration is for his audience to use the rocks he paints as a key to their inner spiritual world.
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