Eyes wide open
Staring into what?
The chaos of everyday life?
Some invisible world?
Or turning inward in self-scrutiny?
Art critic Duong Tuong was driven to poetry after viewing the Vision series of paintings by artist Nguyen Cong Cu.
The main image of Cu’s 15 oil paintings is wide-open eyes centred on a man’s face, with a worried, astonished, happy expression – in an almost-cubist style.
"Artists always draw what they see and feel in everyday life," Cu says. "But in this collection, I portray myself as I am seen by other people and objects."
In his Vision series, the artist expresses many of the different aspects of human emotion.
"Sometimes, these subjects are easy to work with, but sometimes they turn out to be rather mysterious," he says
"I have experienced these same complex feelings more than once when I have attempted to understand the people around me."
Whenever Cu feels bogged down in his exploration of human feeling, he turns to his workshop in an old temple in Dong Ngac Village on the northwestern outskirts of Ha Noi.
"For me, painting is a way of escaping the daily hustle and bustle and satisfying my introverted life," Cu says.
As a graphic designer on the Nong Nghiep Viet Nam (Vietnamese Agriculture) newspaper, 33-year-old Cu admits he has found it difficult to feel at home in the presenting painting climate.
"I want to focus on the internal lives of people rather than paying attention to ways of representing the physical world, and the result is my fairly simple style," he says.
There are no good or bad features in humanity, he says, only beautiful and non-beautiful characteristics. He argues that if people can understand and love this beauty, they will be much more beautiful and live better lives.
"The forward-looking, wide-open eyes of these faces seems to call people to live with their raw natures and behave according to the true meaning of the word ‘human’," Duong Tuong says.
The Hung Yen-born artist graduated from the Ha Noi Industrial Fine Arts University in 1993 and has contributed works to private collections at home and in Denmark, Canada, the US and Australia
Reprinted with with permission from Vietnam News Agency