Kathy Liao

Artadia Awardee

Kathy Liao (she/her) Born in Taipei, Taiwan. Liao received her MFA in Painting from Boston University and BFA in Painting. She is a recipient of various awards including the 2020 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Award, Elizabeth Greenshield Foundation Grant, and the public art commission for the new Kansas City International Airport. Her recent exhibitions include the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

Intimate routines of travel, connection, and bridging distances are etched in Liao’s memory like a well-worn track through repetition; these are familiar rituals performed by many immigrant families, navigating the liminal space in between. Her recent paintings and wall drawing installations document the fluid state between experience, memory, and place. Like well-worn film negatives, she revisits images, snapshots, and memories through iterations, until they begin to morph, overlap, and degrade. The result may be an invitation to enter into an overwhelming yet familiar space, or only a flat wall with traces of history left visible.

“I was taken by Liao’s large-scale paintings that unabashedly take up space, not as a means to occupy, but as a way to fully invite viewers into the work. While her works stem from a personal place of familial stories, memories, and experiences, these intimacies can be felt by her viewers. Her use of scale, textures, layers of paint and striking colors, enliven our senses and awaken the stories that lie within each of us.” – Juror Daisy Nam. 

“The sustaining factor dovetailed across the histories of the land, as well as the intimate bonds that care for time, from the here and now to moments that have passed. Taking history, time, and intimacy into consideration, I both felt and saw a shimmering to Liao’s paintings that feel quiet, that keep you submerged in the effect at each layer. It looks and feels like an iridescent collage of time. These shards of intimacy, surfacing on the surface of Liao’s canvas, capture something about the technological moment where our actual and virtual worlds collide like crystal images, ones riddled with déjà-vu. I’m excited with how this Artadia grant pushes these crystal images into Liao’s sculpture practice.” – Juror Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi.