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Cool on the World
acrylic on canvas
63 x 63 inches

Cool on the World is the second painting from a series called "The Search for the Mountain Chart," based on a story from the Song Dynasty. The tale speaks of China's mysterious Bloom Mountains, wherein demons and monsters exist, but can be overcome by learning life's greatest lessons. Erlang Shen, the punk-like character holding the parrot, is also identified with Zhao Yu, a hermit who lived on Mount Qingcheng and was appointed by Sui Dynasty Emperor Yangdi as Governor of Jiazhou. Following his death, the region was once again plagued by flood and he was seen riding a white horse amidst the swirling currents, as shown above. 

Liu Yan's paintings not only inherit the combination of characters and events from ancient wall painting, but she places modern urban youth and people from the past in the same spectrum. As a result, her work acts as narrative for travel between the old world and the new. Her figures express exaggerated body language and facial expressions that push their actions to the limit. Although the figures often occupy the same space, they do not always share in the same story.