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Artist always seeks fresh palette

Artist Hong Kim Nhung.
Some artists put all their energy into their work, in the belief that genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Artist Hong Kim Nhung disagrees, instead finding that her best ideas come to her in periods of quiet reflection.

Nhung’s latest exhibition at Hanoi’s Atena Gallery showcases her powerful invention of a new form of painting that combines the Japanese art of rice flour flowers with oil painting.

'Melody of Colours' presents a range of her work, from still-lives featuring flower installations to abstracts utilising the rice dough medium.

"I’m an amateur painter," the artist says excitedly. "I paint for fun and hopefully my works are acceptable."

Born in the central city of Hue, Nhung settled in Japan for many years where she taught music, studied painting and clay art before she returned to Vietnam in 1999.

In Japan, she was taken by the art of making rice dough flowers - a complicated process that requires endurance, patience and a great degree of skill.

Her exhibition features more than 20 paintings, which Nhung creates as a pastime.

Bored with the daily of routine of a mother caring for her small child at home while her husband worked, Nhung decided to try her hand at fine art.

"Why not use rice dough flowers in my paintings?" she recalls asking herself.

Throwing herself into this new idea, Nhung has brought a refined, decorative and feminine adornment to her paintings.

Different varieties of flowers appear on her works in miscellaneous shades and colours, giving her paintings a graceful style.

The artist later experimented with a more abstract use of the rice dough medium, but flowers still appear in these works in a subtle form and transform themselves into obscure shapes.

Her art breaks through the limits of handicrafts to enter the free world of the abstract.

"I enjoy painting abstracts," she says. "And now I’m seeking new materials to make more paintings more interesting, such as garments."

Though her ideas are not always successful, Nhung’s creations have found an audience that appreciates her distinctive works.

'Melody of Colours' continues at the Atena Gallery, 7 Hai Ba Trung Street until August 6.

Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper.


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