A digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary art history

Nguyen, Long

Male
Asian American, Vietnamese

Long Nguyen has created paintings that are done in a thick and ocherous impasto. Nguyen was born in Vietnam and left his homeland after the fall of Saigon in 1975. Since he witnessed a war, Nguyen has always wanted to bring intensity to his work in order to fully express his grim experience. The evocative images of his early paintings emerging from his memory and subconscious are all about his experience during the Vietnamese War. Nguyen's subjects are strange animals, people, decaying plants, stairs, water, truncated heads body parts, spirals and striated markings which, according to the artist, implies signs of personal journey. During the 1980s, he studied Eastern philosophies and developed from those experiences meditative paintings that included calligraphic markings. The recurring head and its solemn expression of these paintings "symbolize the resignation of the spirit to these offenses, urging self-sacrifice, relinquishing struggle. In these works which evoke both anguish and a channeled effort to surmount the corporeal, Long Nguyen clearly states that the mind can transcend suffering" (Cited from Long Nguyen written by Casey Fitz Simons). Casey Fitz Simons wrote of these works as, "Consigned to a minor role in the flux of nature, with faith only in the immutability of the power equation, the human being is tortured and impotent. Resignation as a form of self-assertion and surrender as he "sine qua non" of understanding are pungently Eastern."

Gallery of Selected Works