Cathy Lu (b. Miami, FL) is a ceramics based artist that manipulates traditional Chinese art imagery and presentation as a way to explore how experiences of immigration, cultural hybridity, and cultural assimilation become part of American identity is central to her work.
She received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and her BA & BFA from Tufts University. She has participated in artist in residence programs at Root Division, Bemis Center for the Arts, Recology SF, and the Archie Bray Foundation. Her work has been exhibited at Johansson Projects, Aggregate Space, Jessica Silverman Gallery and the Chinese Culture Center SF. She was a 2019 Asian Cultural Council/ Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation Fellow and a 2020 NCECA Emerging Artist. She likes hearing fruit stories.
My work manipulates traditional Chinese objects as a way to deconstruct the assumptions we have about Asian American identity and cultural authenticity. By creating ceramic sculptures and installations, I explore what it means to be both Asian and American, while not being entirely accepted as either. Unpacking how experiences of immigration, cultural hybridity and assimilation become part of the larger American identity is central to my work.
I have made work comparing the cultural authenticity of vases in the Asian Art Museum SF with their replicas in Chinatown. I cast fruits from Chinese neighborhood markets as a way to talk about the struggle for immigrant communities to belong in the U.S. More recently, I have been reimagining garden creation myths like the Garden of Eden and the Immortal Peach Garden as a way to explore the U.S. as both a utopian and dystopian space for historically excluded communities struggling to belong.
Ceramics as a material is a contradiction in itself - of being both hard and fragile; my work embodies the contradictions of being Asian American, of being both invisible and hypervisible, attractive and repulsive, foreign and familiar.