Monday, July 18, 2011

Psychological Impulses Personified

Treading Through an Untrimmed Memory (2011) by Tran Nguyen

Thinkspace Gallery is currently exhibiting "The Synapse Between Here and There", a solo show of new works by Tran Nguyen. These works have a look that blends early 20th century fantasy illustration and Art Nouveau. Yet, there is a compassionate quality that allows the viewer to empathize and identify with the imagery. These are not aesthetic icons, to be kept separate and above the viewer. They are like beautifully designed Rorschach patterns, into which the viewer may engage their own creativity to impart a personal significance to the work.

Perhaps a better analogy than a projective test is to consider these images as "dreamscapes" to which the viewer brings their own distinct interpretation. The art has no "correct" meaning, but instead holds a multiplicity of meanings as determined by the current psychological disposition of the interpreter. That's how I understand the title of this show. It is not about the Object or the Subject but about the Communicative Impulse between them.

Just Another Oscillant Deposition (2011) by Tran Nguyen

Certainly, there is a guiding parameter which is expressed by the title and by the use of colors, shapes, and compositional arrangements. These are not infinitely open abstractions. Nevertheless, these works possess a fertile ambiguity similar to that found in classic Symbolist aesthetics, such as in the works of Gustav Klimt.

The influence of Klimt's work is especially notable in Nguyen's use of golden geometric patterns. But it isn't mere emulation. Her utilization of such elements is primarily to create space and motion, whereas Klimt's is to make the image flat and "Iconic", somewhat in the Byzantine manner. Geometric patterns, golden or not, are a common element to this exhibition; their rigidity of shape contrasts with the softness of the human figures.

Living Parallel to an Infectious Pigment (2011) by Tran Nguyen

In sum, this is a fascinating show. The works are gorgeous and full of ideas. I found myself captivated by their dream-like mystery and beauty. Here's a cool vid displaying some other pieces by Tran Nguyen (Embedding has been disabled so I can only offer a link.)

YouTube vid of Tran Nguyen's painting

Here's Thinkspace Gallery's website.

Here's Tran Nguyen's blog and website.

And here's an interesting interview of Tran Nguyen at Erratic Phenomena.


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