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Peter Frank

Art Critic, Los Angeles

Partial Essay

Written for the Group:

Towards A 21st-Century Abstraction, 2018



Of the collage-based work produced by these artists, Katherine Chang Liu’s is the most directly rooted in the Modernist tradition – the Modernist tradition of Schwitters, that is, rather than Matisse.


In Chang Liu’s hands, as in Schwitters’ – and Picasso’s, and Rauschenberg’s, and others’ – new forms and references emerge from the superposition of given forms without loss of original reference. Further, Chang Liu engages collage as a counterweight, in meaning as well as form, to the presence of deep color applied in rich, creamy blankets. This, and the easel scale at which she normally works, move Chang Liu’s work away from the notational and towards the more directly pictorial.


In this context, her collage elements function as images, however broken or interrupted. The process of abstraction happens where collage meets paint, and on the macro scale where the overall composition articulates itself. 

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