Rachel Hsu
Artist Statement

Rachel Hsu is an interdisciplinary artist who works with visual art, language, and poetry. She received an MFA in sculpture from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture and a BFA from Western Washington University. She has exhibited in New York and Philadelphia, and her writing has been published in Honey Literary and APIARY Magazine. Originally from Seattle, WA, she currently lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.

Artist Statement

My mother has lived away from her homeland for 30 years and I now live 2,800 miles away from mine. One’s relationships to place and to others are changing all the time and we must attend to, rather than avoid, flux. Yet, why do we yearn for something we know is not the same as in our memory or imagination?

My practice engages the yearning that emerges from distance and displacement, whether caused by physical separation, gradually growing apart from one another, or cultural and linguistic differences. My work is made of touch and tends to the aches of navigating spaces as an Asian American woman and bears witness to longing for intimacy and connection. It is a body sinking into bed, a writer’s hand traveling across paper, feet navigating terrain, air filling lungs, a voice burrowing under the skin. Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit questions whether desire can be cherished as a sensation in its own right, rather than as a problem to be solved. This notion permeates my work, as I call for viewers to submerge slowly into absence and longing. In Fetch the Moon from the Seabed (海底撈月), I use color to evoke this submersion in shades of blue and fading gradations: from the soft blue of retreating horizons to the illusory, deep blue of the ocean, the color is emblematic of the permanently unattainable.

Loss and longing are intertwined, and to fully experience both requires time and endurance. Whether it is the labor demanded by language-learning and cultural assimilation or the acute pain that healing necessitates, my work urges mental exertion and emotional endurance to be felt in one’s body. Is it a bearable pain? How long have you been feeling this way? And how far yet to go?

Artist Web Site
Exhibition History at Gallery 456
2022Heart in My Mouth
Works & History
2021Group Exhibitions:
Everything Must Go, Atelier Art Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Flat Files, Peep Space, Tarrytown, NY
Flat Files, Collar Works, Troy, NY
2021Before the River Becomes the Sea, Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia, PA
2020Group Exhibition:
Ministry of Truth: 1984-2020, SaveArtSpace x Art At A Time Like This, New York, NY
2017The Place Has Changed, Dakota Gallery, Bellingham, WA
2015Group Exhibitions:
Escape Routes, Western Gallery, Bellingham, WA
Beyond Borders (juried), Viking Union Gallery, Bellingham, WA
Studies in Order, Dakota Gallery, Bellingham, WA
Coterie, Cascade Space (now Sylvia Center for the Arts), Bellingham, WA
2015this time, again, Viking Union Gallery, Bellingham, WA