© Rachel Liu

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Rachel Liu

San Jose, California

Artist Statement

I am a multidisciplinary artist working in photography, alternative processes, and mixed media. I am interested in the nature of the photographic medium, particularly photography’s capacity to be simultaneously factual and fictitious; forthcoming and withholding; clear and ambiguous. Since 2017, I have been using my own family’s photo archives as source materials for various projects.

The works I submitted in this application are from my ongoing project “Remember Me Like This” that I started in 2017. This project is based on a collection of black and white family photographs that I discovered at my grandmother’s house in China. They were taken between the 1940s and early 1980s, prior to I was born. I rephotographed and printed selected photos from this collection as silver gelatin prints, and hand painted them with ink and gouache. Each in turn becomes a unique piece of painted artwork. The physical manipulations of photographs and the motif of dots obscuring the faces altered the original nature and function of the medium. These family photos are no longer about the individuals captured. They become photography’s poetic moment of truth – symbolic and metaphorical. They demand the viewers to reflect on what we desire to remember and be remembered by.

© Rachel Liu

Rachel Liu's Portfolio

© Rachel Liu

Artist Biography

Rachel Liu, born in Qingdao, China, immigrated to the United States as a 14-year-old. She has since called the San Francisco Bay Area home. Prior to her art career, she worked as a corporate litigation attorney in New York City. In 2011, she began studying in the painting department at Rhode Island School of Art and Design where she was first introduced to traditional darkroom photography and became intrigued with the medium ever since. In 2012, Liu switched her focus from painting to photography. In 2015, she earned her MFA degree in Photography from the Academy of Art in San Francisco.

Liu has been actively exhibiting in shows throughout the United States and abroad since 2015. She was awarded First Place Single Image Winner of LensCulture’s Inaugural Art Photography Award in 2018, an honorable mention of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers in 2019, and an artist grant by the San Jose Cultural Affairs Public Art Program in 2021, among others. Her work has been featured in publications such as The New Yorker and Photography of China. Selected residencies include Minnesota Street Project Adjacent Virtual Residency and Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York. She currently lives and works in San Jose, California.



© Rachel Liu

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