The selection of works in this exhibition illustrate various techniques, aesthetics and themes by four artists whose primary visual language is abstraction. Whether the paintings are layered with vibrant colors communicating a joie de vivre or marked with doodles, scratches and punctures with undertones of violence and rebellion, all the works reveal extreme depth, thought and deft control with the medium of paint and collage.
Tran Van Thao paints, scrapes, constructs and scratches to challenge the notion of the flat picture plane. Canvas is used not only as a painting support, but is also manipulated through cutting and pasting in direct engagement with the paint medium.
Thick layers of acrylic, papier-mâché and glue are a hallmark of Nguyen Thanh Truc’s canvases. Through its crevasses, gaps and scratches, Truc’s work suggest fragments, stories and histories that have been forgotten.
Nguyen Trung’s Crying River I and II evoke quiet water waves and slow waterlogged clouds. This peaceful and delicate series, in shades of blue and white, possesses a calming serenity. The works encourage the viewer to distance oneself from the materiality of life.
Thien Do’s collaged compositions of newsprint and acrylic paint refer to the over-use of rules and regulations in Vietnamese society. Investigating the concept of social order and questioning its limits, Thien Do uses the surface of his canvases to re-create the context of our urban environment. Thesubtle tones in his work, emphasized by the fading newsprint, evoke the old walls of Saigon fated for demolition.