"Summer Meeting," a Rendezvous for Vietnamese and Japanese Artists

by My Tran

Source: Saigon Times, July 9, 2014

About 30 abstract paintings by four artists Kato Shojiro, Nguyen Duy Linh, Le Thanh Thu, and Vo Xuan Huy are being displayed at Tu Do Gallery.

On display are landscapes depicted vaporously by color layers. Made in abstract style, paintings let viewers freely sense and imagine whatever they want and then free their soul in those colored worlds.

Thu is a poet before holding the brush with many various styles from impressionist and expressionist to abstract and contemporary. So his artworks are the harmony of fine arts and poetry, expressed in a series of landscapes created during the 90's that are as softly elegant as a band of white cloud on the clear sky, or a range of mountain slightly blurred behind waves of water. They are just the imagination of a poet.

Kato Shojiro from Japan brings to the show his love to Vietnam national flower - lotus. "My intention is to convey an impression about the country, through a foreign eye, to the local community," said Shojiro.

Visitors will have a chance to explore a Japanese-style rendition of the flowers which is completely different from that of any local artist. Without the title to give a hint, the series may strike viewers as a world of abstraction where colors are used merely as a function of the artist's experience of the object and forms created for their own sake, devoid of any clear reference to the world of reality.

Shojiro seeks to capture the subject's essence as opposed to it outside appearance. This approach to painting is itself a vivid example of quintessentially Japanese aesthetics. The paintings are slightly modified replicas of one another rendered in a different color tone, characterizing a series of experiments in which the artist plays with his own emotions and sensitivity.

Huy is among a few Vietnamese artists who make abstract paintings with lacquer. His lacquer paintings in this show, created during 2002-2011, had enough time sot that most of the lines and colors at deeper layers simmer while the surface layer has become more transparent.

Linh conveys the beautiful sceneries of the transitional period between hot summer and frosty winter which has inspired the artist so much. He will take visitors through the diverse emotions and romance of Hue in fall.

The exhibition will run until July at 28 at the gallery, 53 Ho Tung Mau Street in HCMC’s District 1.