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RiverVietnam gallery features return of long-absent painter (November 27, 2005)

Painter Le Khac Cuong has emerged from a self-imposed artistic exile with a new showing at the new RiverVietnam Art Company gallery, his first in nearly a decade.

The 33-year old painter has been unseen since he graduated from the Vietnam Industrial Arts College in 1997. At that time, his paintings sold for US$3,000-5,000.

In explaining his long absence from the art world, Cuong said, "I was not confident enough to hold my own exhibition. I wanted to feel stronger."

The founders of the RiverVietnam gallery invited Cuong to become the gallery's director as well as the focus of its first show. The result is the exhibition entitled. At The Corner, which opened on Wednesday as the inaugural exhibition of the RiverVietnam gallery.

The centerpiece of the show is the impressive, large-scale oil painting entitled Big Shoe. At 2m by 2.6m, the painting is in a hyperrealistic style, and shows a leather shoe in an odd setting that makes the familiar strange.

Most of paintings in the exhibition are large in scale, and many are in mixed media, including watercolours, or pencil on old French paper. "I wanted to introduce a style of painting made on old paper," Cuong explained.

He said that he was also drawn by black-and-white photos in old French newspapers.

"I like the mixed media paintings," a gallery visitor commented, "because I like the French paper Cuong uses in his works."

This approach is not new or unique, however, said painter Tran Anh Quan, who was Cuong's college classmate.

"My works are very diverse. I can paint on all materials," said Cuong.

The RiverVietnam Art Gallery chose Cuong for its first show for the very reason that he was a multi-style painter, said RiverVietname president Le Hoai Nam.

RiverVietnam aimed to discover unrecognised talent, Nam said. The newly established company would provide artists with the support of a fully equipped studio for their experimental works.

"We want to become an ideal space for creative efforts. We act as friends and professional organisers to assist artists with their work and exhibitions," said Nam.

"Vietnam needs more painters of international standing," said Cuong, noting that he would try to encourage this in his position as director of RiverVietnam.

At The Corner shows on Tuesdays through Sundays through December 22 at Suite 1703, 17th Floor, 17T- 6 Building, Trung Hoa, Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi.

Reprinted from VietNamNet


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