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Oil paintings by Hanoi-based artist Nguyen Quoc Trung

By Craig Thomas

Ms. Duong Thu Hang of Hanoi Studio Gallery has been working with young Vietnamese visual artists to help them develop their practice and careers for over two decades. Nguyen Quoc Trung is one of the most recent artists to benefit from Ms. Hang’s mentoring eye. Ms. Hang also mentored Craig Thomas when he managed her Saigon gallery in the early 2000s; helping him learn how to identify and support talented young artists.

Nguyen Quoc Trung_Ethereal 1_2017_Oil on canvas_70 x 160 cm

Of Nguyen Quoc Trung’s latest collection Ethereal, Ms. Hang says, “Trung has spent a great deal of time and energy in researching and mastering his technique whereby he makes a strong, full material like oil paint appear fragile and delicate as if it were watercolor. Trung does not focus on detailed depictions and thick eye-catching strokes in creating the forms in his paintings. The slightest difference between light and shade creates a melody where there is no imprint of time, but instead something eternal which places a slight, ethereal touch on the viewer’s emotions.”

Nguyen Quoc Trung_ Ethereal 14_2017_Oil on canvas_70 x 160 cm

Speaking of his Ethereal collection, Trung says, “Day by day, the urge to paint something gentle, something smooth, became greater, and certainly suggestions from Hanoi Studio were also important during my thematic search. One day, I just decided to let everything unwind, let it disperse, and I was immediately immersed in my paintings. I felt the rhythm, the breath, of those color streaks when they disintegrate, as if they were running, living, and moving. Such delicacy resembles water color on paper, but bears no similarity in terms of technique.”

Nguyen Quoc Trung_Ethereal 16_2017_Oil on canvas_110 x 230 cm

The mastery of materials and technique are essential questions when analyzing Trung’s unique practice. Of his technique, Trung says, “Initially I had great difficulties with my style as very few artists paint this way. Some oil diluted with paint solutions are hard to control and take a long time to dry. At times, the oil would create a film that broke the smoothness of the surface; while at other times the colors would turn when drying. It took me years of experimenting and discovering with these essential criteria of my practice: strong dispersal, smooth surface, color preservation and fast drying. The process of mixing solutions and gaining experience for this technique was difficult yet extremely interesting to me. I am happy to say today that I have dealt with the challenges and have mastered my technique which is now my signature style.”

Opening reception:             Friday, 5 May 2017, 6-9pm

Exhibition dates:                  5 – 22 May 2017

Location:                               Craig Thomas Gallery

27(i) Tran Nhat Duat

Tan Dinh Ward, Dist. 1

Ho Chi Minh City

Contacts:                               Craig Thomas – 0903888431

E-mail: cthomasgallery@gmail.com

Website: www.cthomasgallery.com

 




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