Westminster, CA – The Việt Báo Gallery is pleased to announce a solo art exhibition of new works by Ann Phong. The “Sea of Life” exhibtion will run from May 5 – 7, 2017, from12:00pm-5:00pm. The artist will be present at the opening reception on Friday, May 5thfrom 6:00pm – 8:00pm.
Phong has been known in the Vietnamese American community through her participation in many group exhibitions and art activism since the 1990s. “Sea of Life” is her rare solo exhibition which features around 40 acryclic and mixed media pieces.
“I don’t paint what I see, but I create from the feelings I receive from life,” Phong said. In her artist’s statement, she states, “I like to wander, to listen to the voices of people, to blend into the crowd and watch, as people juggle their everyday lives. For every one of my pieces, I let my feelings flow back to the past and seek to record the scenes that left an imprint. These scenes serve as marks on a boat that sails across the sea of life. They represent those living in exile, those living in my homeland of Vietnam, or those living in the 21st century”
Mặc Lâm of Radio Free Asia (RFA), notes that, “In the previous series of Phong’s paintings with the theme about the sea, those who had escaped from Vietnam by boat and, therefore were named ‘boat people’, could see themselves on the haunting waves. These boat people would also see their own unforgettable memories on those wrecked boats.”
However, “Sea of Life” will offer a glimpse into a new dimension in Phong’s art. Mặc Lâm comments in the introduction for the exhibition: “In this exhibition, the artist displays various vibrant colors. No more motif of the grey color or the coldness of the sea. […] The catalysts in the sea salt have probably been dissolved in the tears to create a new series of paintings that offers quite a lot of space for hope and revival after a haunting series about the sea of the yesterday.
Phong has focused on the sea as a regular theme throughout her art career. Art critic, Danielle Waslsh, calls Phong “a gifted painter with a penchant for subtle but nonetheless critical narrative.” She adds, “Phong offers more than a cursory look into Vietnamese/American history. To viewers who take the time to decode her multi-faceted work, she grants a glimpse into a soul that underwent a radical transformation beginning with her journey by boat that landed her in refugee camps in the Philippines and Malaysia and then eventually to the United States, where she fulfilled her goal to become an artist. In this she tells her own story as well as that of many of her compatriots.”
Phong received her MFA from California State University, Fullerton in 1995, and has actively participated in more than 150 solo and group shows in galleries and museums. Her work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, to Houston, Vancouver, Bangkok, Seoul, Chengdu, Taichung and Tokyo. Currently, Phong teaches art at Cal Poly Pomona University. Her works have been included in permanent collections of Cal Poly Pomona, California State University, Fullerton, Sweeney Gallery at University of California, Riverside, and Karbi Museum in Thailand. Phong serves as board president of VAALA (Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association), a nonprofit organization, based in Orange County, CA that is dedicated to connecting and enriching communities through Vietnamese art and culture.
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