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Cathy Lu - Pile
2022, Porcelain and discarded bricks, 144 x 108 x 48 inches
Cathy Lu - Peripheral Visions
Peripheral Visions
2022, ceramic, plastic tubing, water pumps, various containers, yellow onion water, 264 x 168 x 108 inches
Cathy Lu - Drains
2022, porcelain, water, wood, concrete, plastic tub, water pumps and plastic tubing, 72 x 96 x 32 inches
Cathy Lu - Nuwa's Hand
Nuwa's Hand
Cathy Lu Regeneration Garden
Regeneration Garden
2022, ceramic, vegetable ends, each sculpture in installation approx. 22 x 36 x 22 inches
Cathy Lu - Regeneration Garden: Scallions
Regeneration Garden: Scallions
2022, ceramic, scallion ends, 22 x 36 x 22 inches
Cathy Lu - Peach with Incense
Peach with Incense
2022, ceramic, joss sticks, 34 x 45 x 36 inches
Cathy Lu - Nuwa's Hand
Nuwa's Hand
2022, ceramic and joss sticks, 132 x 48 x 12 inches
Cathy Lu - American Dream Double Pillow
American Dream Double Pillow (Nuwa's Hands)
2021, Ceramic, 28 x 28 x 28.5 inches
Cathy Lu - Tree
2020, bamboo, ceramic, produce nets, bricks, 132 x 72 x 48 inches

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.

Artist statement

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. 

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