Cathy Hsiao

 
 

Statement

How can immaterial time and material in space translate experiences of migration, translocation, and memory? Memory feels both heavy and light the way a heartbeat flutters and pounds. Through rhythm and ritual I weave together narratives that are personally intimate and art historically evocative. These narratives are mostly accurate, somewhat fictitious, always woven together in a syncopation of languages formal and cultural. The way that natural forces create marble from limestone, through the application of heat, pressure and time is akin to how identity and culture is formed and shaped. Therefore my practice is deeply rooted in a hybrid inquiry between material making and conceptual thinking. I construct parallels between my affective mental landscape and our larger natural and built environments.

Much of my techniques re-use distinct craft practices from Asian textiles such as weaving and natural dyeing iterated into a vocabulary influenced by the history of Western abstraction. Using my body to reimagine other bodies, using other bodies to reinterpret my own I record and build an index of my environment to feel my size. I arrange various shapes I've cast out of concrete on a wall to be read as a textual narrative. The vocabulary references shapes in my environment abstracted from their context - a puddle of rain, a sidewalk square, and a handrail recast as letters for concrete poetry. This poetry of my built environment has accompanying sound scores for guitar and percussion. The score is always provisional, intended to be performed in different arrangements. My attraction to serial and rhythmic practices such as sound, video, weaving and minimalist sculpture come from the recognition that in essence the drum is the first thing we hear as human beings. Before we see, before we smell or taste, we feel the rhythm of our mother’s heartbeat.

Cathy Hsiao, Concrete Poetry Songbook for Sculpture, (page 1, score 1), Studio view, Concrete, recycled textile dyes, acrylic paint, accompanying sound performance, Variable between 4 ft wide + 6 ft tall

Cathy Hsiao, Concrete Poetry Songbook for Sculpture, (page 1, score 1), Studio view, Concrete, recycled textile dyes, acrylic paint, accompanying sound performance, Variable between 4 ft wide + 6 ft tall

Biography

Cathy Hsiao is an artist working in Chicago. She was born in NYC but immigrated to Taiwan due to familial financially difficulties when she was three. She graduated from a Christian missionary high school in Taichung Taiwan and both her parents both still live in Asia. Her mother lives in Hong Kong, China as part of a Buddhist commune affiliated with Falun Dafa Buddhism. Her mother doesn't believe in technology so photographs of her are rare and the same one often repeats. Hsiao graduated from the University of California Berkeley and holds a Certificate in Criticism and Theory from Cornell University. She is currently a MFA candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017). She has been awarded the 2016 Emerging Illinois Artists Triennial Juror Prize, curator Kelly Schindler; the New Artist Society Fellowship, School of the Art Institute (2014 - 2017), the W. Burghardt Turner Summer Study Fellowship (2012), amongst others. Upcoming two-person and group shows in 2017 include Comfort Station, Chicago and Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago.