Cathy Lu

Artist Statement

The pathway for my art practice has been charted through the lens of my experience growing up in an immigrant family from Taiwan and China, among a community of Cuban exiles in Miami FL during the 1990s. This childhood provided a collection of indelible, surreal experiences: watching the U.S. Coast Guard chase Cuban refugees on the beach against the backdrop of a beautiful sunset; discovering my family’s green cards as a child and seeing that they were ‘Resident Aliens’; living a life that was never represented in mainstream media. I am interested in what it means to be both Asian and American, and want to better understand how experiences of immigration, cultural hybridity and assimilation become part of a larger American identity. Creating my artwork often requires research in topics that include traditional Chinese imagery and objects, Asian American history and experiences, and building an understanding of authenticity and value in relationship to objects and culture.

My process involves slip casting, hand-built forms, and found forms to create installations. I am also interested in the cultural values we place on certain materials and processes—hand made vs. mass produced—as a framework to explore the authenticity of an object in relation to culture. I am not only interested in the object and what it represents, but am equally intrigued by the contexts in which we experience those objects.

-- Cathy Lu


Cathy Lu (b. Miami, FL) is a ceramics based artist that manipulates traditional Chinese art imagery and presentation as a ​way to deconstruct the assumptions we have about Chinese identity and cultural authenticity. ​By creating ceramic based sculptures and installations, she explores what it means to be both Asian and American, while not being entirely accepted as either. ​Unpacking 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, Vermont Studio Center, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and Recology SF. Her work has been exhibited at Johansson Projects, Somarts, Aggregate Space, and Chinese Culture Center. She was a 2019 Asian Cultural Council/ Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation Fellow. She currently teaches at California College of the Arts and Mills College.