Artist Statement: Liú Nián ( 流年 ), translated in English as Fleeting Time, began as an image of an airport, of people, and as the pandemic progressed it sat in my studio, paralyzed, and stopped in its tracks. While visiting my grandmother in Taipei, my mother sent me images as they ventured out into the city. Something hit me when I received a photo of my grandmother in an empty metro station. My memory of the Taipei metro is that it is packed, shoulder to shoulder. My airport painting quickly shifted from a crowd to a lonely figure. In thinking about what we, across the globe, had been through, both collectively and socially distanced, I think of the immensity of the ripple, the wave, the tide of reckoning, trauma, and the new normal... still just a part of an ever-flowing passage of our time here on earth.
Liú Nián has a broader definition in the Chinese language, The Endless Passing of Time. Liú Nián is a reference to one's fortune for the year. My mother taught me that in Chinese fortune telling, your life is like a river, it continues to flow endlessly. The fortune teller can only tell you about the water passing through at that moment - like dropping a leaf into the water, it keeps going and flowing. As families separate and migrate, I recognize the invariable loss and the struggle to justify and reconcile the distance in between. As we rely more on virtual means to stay in touch with distant loved ones, the wall of the digital screen blinds us to those close by and make us lose touch with reality. With each piece, I am constantly re-establishing my relationship to family, being conscientious of my distance to them physically and emotionally.
Artist Bio: As a Taiwanese American artist, Liao looks for patterns and repetitions in behaviors of the immigrant family. Liao received her MFA in Painting from Boston University and BFA in Painting. She is a recipient of various awards including the 2022 21c Kansas City Artadia Award, 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. Formerly, Liao was Director of the Painting and Printmaking at Missouri Western State University and taught at various institutions across the country. She was nominated “Most Influential Professor” in 2019. She is currently part of the Artist Services team at Mid-America Arts Alliance in Kansas City, MO.
Venue Statement: Case|Egderton Studios is proud to present Kathy Liao’s Liú Nián in conjunction with the Solidarity Street Gallery | Resilient Generations exhibition. CE ArtBoards will feature a large-scale digital print of Liao’s multi-panel painting on the corner of Case and Edgerton, on view from Sept 6th -Oct 28th.