Gilbert Hsiao

Easton Pennsylvania (USA), 1956


The work of Gilbert Hsiao (1956) focuses on the exploration of visual perception, and what we as humans have in common, rather than what makes us distinct from one another. His work includes paintings, video art, installations, and works on paper. Music, sound and rhythm are his main sources of inspiration. In his optics complex work strange objects like octagonal, triangle and circle appear.

De Stijl's influence on Hsiao’s work is primarily through Mondriaan, especially the Boogie Woogie paintings. They share a love for music, especially jazz, and it shows up in the visual syncopation, beats, pulse, and rhythm of the work. Also visible is a highly limited, contrasted, saturated palette. The colour shapes sometime function as notes or highlights and the use of repetition and syncopation. Mondriaans influence is more apparent in Hsiao’s earlier work of the 80s and 90s than in his current work, but the vibe is very much still present. Hsiao uses a limited palette although his ‘primary’ colours are fluorescent green, orange and pink, rather than blue, yellow and red.

Gilbert Hsiao spent most of his childhood in Terre Haute, Indiana. He is the son of Chinese immigrants who came to America to further their studies, and then became marooned when revolution broke out in China. Hsiao came to New York City in the mid 1970’s to attend Columbia University, and subsequently Pratt Institute. It was there he was first exposed to art as well as a wide variety of music, which were to become important influences on his work.

Hsiao has participated in residencies at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation (Brooklyn, VS), Millay Colony for the Arts (Austerlitz, NY), and Gallery Aferro (Newark, NJ), and Raygun Projects (Toowoomba, AUS) and was a New York Foundation for the Arts Painting Fellow. His work has been seen in such institutions as P.S. 1, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (VS) and the Indianapolis Museum of Art (VS), as well as in alternative spaces and galleries scattered throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe and Australia. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and works in Newark, NJ.

He is author of the blog The Perceptual Observer.

Contrary Motion (2017)
Contrary Motion (2017) Schetsontwerp door Gilbert Hsiao