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Young artist prepares for trip to Vermont (August 19, 2005)

Blue head period: Nang (Sunshine), 1.5mx2m oil on canvas, will be displayed at the exhibition. — VNS File Photo
Dressed in a white shirt and blue jeans, 24-year-old Le Vo Tuan looks like a student rather than an artist with nearly ten years’ experience in painting and sculpture.

This son of Quang Binh Province has prepared his first tour to the United States next week, where he will show his works at the prestigious gallery Vermont Studio Centre.

Before his journey, Tuan is introducing his latest creations at Mai’s Gallery. "These works have been heavily influenced by HCM City, a promised land for provincial artists like me," he said.

Through his 25 oversized oil canvases, Tuan has sought to find himself, saying, "Living in HCM City is my new challenge. Both my life and creative work are changing."

The message of his show, he says, is to enjoy your life in the present but never forget where you came from.

Visitors to the exhibition have been interested by Tuan’s use of intense colour.

His canvases appear simple at first glance but display deep humanity.

The show’s highlights are Nang (Sunshine) and Gia Dinh (Family), both 2m by 1.5m and featuring children and their mothers standing together smiling.

Unlike his paintings, Tuan’s sculptures of his face in different styles offer viewers a more meditative quality.

"I always live and work in conflict, but I earn a good living," said Tuan, who sells his work for at least US$500 for a small painting and up to $2,000 for a large one.

Of his first overseas exhibition, Tuan said: "I’m confident of the response of American art lovers."

The young artist had enough self-assurance to send his work directly to the Vermont Studio Centre, asking for a solo show. The gallery responded positively, and even offered to cover half of his travel expenses.

Although he graduated from the Hue Fine Art College in 2004, Tuan’s first exhibition was held in Hue in 1996. Since then he has exhibited several times in his home province and Hue. Last year, he received a warm response from HCM City art critics and viewers for his first one-man show in the city, entitled I See Magic.

The exhibition runs until September 4 from 9am to 6pm at Mai’s Gallery, 16 Nguyen Hue Street, District 1. — VNS

Reprinted with permission from Vietnam News Agency


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