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Press Release: Artists Hung Liu and Michael Hall Present Works Considering War and Its Personal Toll, at Richmond Art Center’s Fall 2016 Exhibition


The relationship between an established artist and the historically vital position of studio assistant are examined in Making Our Mark, the 80th Anniversary Exhibition presented by the Richmond Art Center.

RICHMOND, CA — AUGUST 17, 2016 — The development and course of a young artist graduating from art school can be a daunting unmarked path. The job of studio assistant has been and is an historically vital position in the career trajectory of an artist. In celebration of its 80th anniversary and continuous service to the Richmond community and the greater Bay Area, the Richmond Art Center is preparing a major 2016 Fall exhibition, Making Our Mark, which considers the works of engaging and influential artists and the relationships they foster with their students, mentees, and assistants.

The relationship between an artist and their assistant can become a sustained mentoring where the generosity extended beyond the practical develops an extraordinary kinship. When an established artist takes on a studio assistant, the role and duties are particular to specific needs and qualities of the individual artist. In Making Our Mark, the work of Chinese-born American contemporary artist Hung Liu is paired with the art of her former studio assistant and Mills College student, Michael Hall. In Hung Liu’s paintings in the exhibition, especially Zhan Ma – War Horse, and Michael Hall’s suite of related works including Lookout, the two artists present a view of war and the terrible cost and tolls taken. The shared sensibility and ritualistic healing through art-making point to a commonality of spirit.

Hung Liu War Horse HL11 11 smallHung Liu
Zhan Ma – War Horse
Oil on canvas, 2011
80 x 80 in.
Courtesy of the Artist
Michael Hall Lookout smallMichael Hall
Oil on canvas, 2015
12 x 9 in.
Courtesy of Realreal Art Collection

“In the intimacy of the artist’s studio, what is transmitted is often not visible,” says Jan Wurm, Richmond Art Center’s Director of Exhibitions. “But sometimes the values and commitments are manifested in the artwork.”  

Liu  and Hall will participate in one of the Making Our Mark Artists’ Talks related to the exhibition, where they will discuss their individual practices and how they have experienced the teacher/assistant relationship and the importance of the guidance and support. This event will take place in the Richmond Art Center’s Main Gallery on Saturday, November 5 at 3 pm and is free to the public. For more information on the event, please visit:

From September 13 through November 12 in three galleries, Marking Our Mark will highlight 14 established and nationally known artists who have supported, and enriched the programs and exhibitions at the Art Center over many years. These artists include Christopher Brown, Squeak Carnwath, Enrique Chagoya, Lia Cook, Allan deSouza, Mildred Howard, James Melchert, Hung Liu, Richard Misrach, Richard Shaw, William T. Wiley, and Wanxin Zhang, artists who reflect various philosophies and media (painting, ceramics, fiber, sculpture, and photography). The opening reception for this exhibition will take place on Saturday, September 10, from 5-7 pm. For more information about this exhibition, please visit:

To learn more about the Art Center’s 80th Anniversary, including the 80th Anniversary Gala celebration, please visit:
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog of artwork and interpretation by the Director of Exhibitions, Jan Wurm. The complete list of artists included in Making Our Mark are Dru Anderson, Megan Atherton, Christopher Brown, Ethan Caflisch, Squeak Carnwath, Enrique Chagoya, Lia Cook, Sofia Córdova, Yvette Deas, Allan deSouza, Nathan Dollarhite, Michael Hall, Scott Hewitt, Mildred Howard, Hung Liu, Nicholas Makanna, Bruce McGaw, James Melchert, Richard Misrach, Kate Nartker, Deborah Oropallo, Shari Paladino, Johanna Poethig, Richard Shaw, Ehren Tool, Mary Hull Webster, William T. Wiley, and Wanxin Zhang.

About the Richmond Art Center:

The Richmond Art Center is the largest visual arts center in the East Bay, delivering exciting arts experiences to young and old alike who reflect the diverse richness of our community. The Art Center features hands-on learning, well-equipped studios,  Art in the Community programs and contemporary exhibitions in its galleries.

Every year, the Richmond Art Center serves thousands of students through classes and programs taught by professional artists, both onsite at the Art Center and at sites throughout Richmond. The Art Center’s four galleries mount rotating exhibitions that display the works of emerging and established Bay Area artists. Artists such as Richard Diebenkorn, Jay DeFeo, Wanxin Zhang, Hung Liu, William Wiley and Peter Voulkos have been showcased here.

The Richmond Art Center originated in 1936, when local artist Hazel Salmi, who worked for the WPA, traversed the streets of Richmond with a suitcase packed with art supplies, eager to teach art to anyone interested. Today, everything at the Art Center continues to breathe life into Salmi’s original vision: That within every person lives an artist.


Julie Sparenberg
Communications Manager

Download a PDF of the press release here.



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