b. 1979, China

Pixy Liao Biography

Pixy Liao's photographic practice is defined by a bright, colourful palette and careful staging. Her works frequently involve the human figure, as seen in her 'Experimental Relationship' series (2007–ongoing), which captured the artist with her boyfriend, Moro. The couple stages themselves in a range of intimate poses, including Moro draped over Liao's shoulders (It's Never Been Easy to Carry You, 2013) or lying across her lap submissively, baring his behind to her looming hand while she stares at the camera in a defiant manner (Ass Drumming, 2015).

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Upending gender roles to question heteronormative relationships, Liao started 'Experimental Relationship' during her MFA in Photography at the University of Memphis, where she met Moro. Born in Shanghai in 1979, Liao came to art quite late, deciding after her initial studies in China that she wanted to become a graphic designer. However, feeling that graphic design did not enable control over her creativity, she enrolled at the University of Memphis in 2006. There, the artist developed a strong visual style, first captured in 'Memphis, Tennessee' (2006–2008). In this series, the geometry of Liao's earlier career as a graphic designer is visible, along with the bold colours of the architectural structures and interiors that characterise Memphis, including its iconic dive bars. In her 2019 conversation with Ocula Magazine, Liao notes that she was inspired to study at the University of Memphis by her love of Elvis Presley. 'Memphis, Tennessee' preceded her relocation to Brooklyn, New York, where she continues to develop 'Experimental Relationship' with Moro.

Recently, Liao has sought to examine powerful female figures in history, investigating those who 'tend to have bad names because they were ruthless women'. Inspired by contemporary political events such as then-presidential Donald Trump's 'nasty woman' statement about opponent Hillary Clinton in 2016, the artist started 'Evil Women Cult' (2019–ongoing), a conceptual series of works that pay homage to female leaders in history. Temple for Her (2019) was first presented at Flyweight—a 1:12-scale exhibition space in New York—and is dedicated to China's only empress, Wu Zetian (624–705). Wu's name is tainted in history for the ruthless means through which she attained leadership, even though her actions were comparable to those of men in similar positions. In the installation, the artist's characteristic bright colours form the outline of a female body in a shallow mould filled with a liquid that resembles blood. Placed against the wall is a narrow red staircase that symbolises 'the lonely path the Empress took all the way to the top'.

Liao is a recipient of a NYFA Fellowship in Photography; Santo Foundation Individual Artist Awards; Jimei x Arles Madame Figaro China Women Photographers Award; En Foco's New Work Fellowship; and LensCulture Exposure Awards. Her work has been exhibited at the Rencontres d'Arles, France (2019); Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival, Xiamen, China (2018); and the Chinese American Art Council, New York (2011), among others.

Tessa Moldan | Ocula | 2019

Pixy Liao Featured Artworks

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Gang of Two by Pixy Liao contemporary artwork photography, print
Pixy Liao Gang of Two, 2019 Digital c-print
20 x 15 inches
Chambers Fine Art Contact Gallery
Hey Baby by Pixy Liao contemporary artwork photography, print
Pixy Liao Hey Baby, 2019 Digital c-print
20 x 15 inches
Chambers Fine Art Contact Gallery
1:50pm by Pixy Liao contemporary artwork photography, print
Pixy Liao 1:50pm, 2019 Digital c-print
15 x 20 inches
Chambers Fine Art Contact Gallery
1:42pm by Pixy Liao contemporary artwork photography, print
Pixy Liao 1:42pm, 2019 Digital c-print
15 x 20 inches
Chambers Fine Art Contact Gallery
Sento Thinker by Pixy Liao contemporary artwork photography
Pixy Liao Sento Thinker, 2018 Digital c-print
75 x 100 cm
Chambers Fine Art Contact Gallery
Moro kissed me through a window by Pixy Liao contemporary artwork photography
Pixy Liao Moro kissed me through a window, 2015 Digital c-print
37.5 x 50 cm
Chambers Fine Art Contact Gallery
Golden Mouse 金鼠 by Pixy Liao contemporary artwork photography
Pixy Liao Golden Mouse 金鼠, 2014 Inkjet print
40.6 x 51 cm
Chambers Fine Art Contact Gallery
Open Kimono 敞开的和服 by Pixy Liao contemporary artwork print
Pixy Liao Open Kimono 敞开的和服, 2018 Digital C-print
50.5 x 40.5 cm
Chambers Fine Art Contact Gallery

Pixy Liao Recent Exhibitions

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Pixy Liao Represented By

Chambers Fine Art contemporary art gallery in New York, USA Chambers Fine Art Beijing, New York

Pixy Liao In Ocula Magazine

Pixy Liao In Related Press

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