Emily Brönte once wrote, "I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas – they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind." Tran Nguyen paints on the edge of that dream, always reaching for that ineffable moment that describes an inner transformation, an unsettling malaise, a yearning for release. Her debut solo show, "Nurturing the Uneased Soul," opens on March 12th at Thinkspace Gallery.
"What the World Doesn't Know"
Born in Vietnam, Tran currently lives in Savannah, Georgia. Just 23, she has evolved rapidly while working her way through the Savannah College of Art and Design's painting program. While her early student work was somewhat influenced by James Jean, she has since developed her own aesthetic while narrowing her conceptual focus, concentrating on psychological states, the mindscape of dreams and the healing power of wonder.
"We Vomit Carcasses of Unattended Thoughts"
She says, "I find that there's little pleasure in drawing within the limitations of reality. Illustrating dreams and the unknown is what stimulates the mind. As Francis Bacon stated, 'the job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.' The intent of my work is to create a place that easily invites reflection, where the viewer can recollect their own memories."
(detail of work from her upcoming show)
Working in graphite, colored pencils, and thin glazes of highly diluted acrylic on the rougher reverse side of Rives BFK paper, she achieves a soft, delicate aesthetic that feels like an impossibly controlled watercolor. An admirer of Gustav Klimt, she sometimes employs a flat gold geometric pattern that acts as a floating screen through which elements of the painting unfurl. The surreal dimensionality of these elements – sprouting feathers, billowing fabrics and twining ribbons – makes a breathtaking contrast to their softly rendered backdrops.
"Our Flutter-some Ordeal"
Above all, Tran Nguyen believes in the healing power of dreamlike, evocative imagery, and her search for meaningful expressions of spiritual states and subconscious desires continues. Don't miss her debut solo show, "Nurturing the Uneased Soul," on March 12th at Thinkspace.