Artist Profile

Kathy Liao

Studio Resident (2016-2017)

Painting, Printmaking
Statement of Work

In the last few years, my grandmother’s memories have been slipping away from her. I held her close to my heart but I could feel the distance between us widening. I am at the periphery of her foggy world. Despite losing her memory, she is always so happy and surprised when I came into focus. I often wonder how she experiences her world. Does she live in a colorless blurry haze to have it punctuated by bursts of kaleidoscopic remembrance?

I think a lot about the distance we experience around us. There are some distances that seem so impossibly far out of reach. In our iPhone-staring, social media fueled world right now, one can be right next to another and feels a million miles apart. Then there are moments when we experience an intimate connection, whether through physical touch or compressed onto the same screen during FaceTime calls.

My recent paintings are a record of an experience, a feeling. In a familiar space, both the presence and the absence of figure are equally palpable. A portrait may begin with the person sitting in front of me or a transient smile over FaceTime, and all that might get buried under layers of painted recollection of how the sun felt the day he sat there. My mixed media work is painted from observations, layered with sharp and hazy memories and recorded snapshot photos. With each painting, I am constantly re-establishing my relationship with the subject matter, being conscientious of my distance to them, physically and emotionally.

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In my recent work, figures and faces blurred and I felt the absence of the memory. What’s not there intrigues me more rather than forcing things to be there.

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