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Lacquer paintings explore daily life

Update: November, 12/2013 - 09:22
Mixed media: Le Xuan Chieu with his work. — VNS Photo Sunny Rose

HCM City  (VNS) — The Color of the South, an exhibition of 137 works by six established artists, is on display at the HCM Fine Arts City Museum.

Four of the artists — Duong Sen (1949), Le Xuan Chieu (1956), Luong Khanh Toan (1955) and Nguyen Dang Khoat (1952), all aged between 57 and 64 — were born in North Viet Nam and later moved to HCM City.

Ho Minh Quan (1961) is from Hue and Nguyen Dam Thuy (1967), the youngest and only woman in the group, is from Ben Tre.

Her 23 large oil paintings reflect daily life and portray womanhood. Sen is a master of lacquer and has 33 works featuring the sea or life in the Mekong Delta.

Khoat uses bright colors in his 29 oil paintings about the North featuring memories of his childhood.

Toan has 10 40x60cm lacquer paintings depicting a variety of landscapes. He is not attending the show because of serious burn injuries caused while doing the works.

Making a lacquer painting may take months depending on the technique used and the number of layers of lacquer.

Each layer requires drying and polishing. When all the layers are applied the artist polishes different parts of the painting until the preferred colours show.

The paintings themselves are made using a variety of materials in addition to the lacquer: mother of pearl, egg shells, gold leaves, and silver dust, which are inlaid.

Chieu's 29 works straddle several genres — multi-media, lacquer, silk, wood carving, and pastel.

"Pastel and silk are delicate materials but when mixed they can create long-lasting works," Chieu said.

His works are about people living in the northern mountains.

Quan has 13 large oil paintings with a predominance of blues and greens that mostly depict young plants in spring.

This is the sixth exhibition by the group held annually in HCM City and Ha Noi.

The exhibition will run at the museum, 97 Pho Duc Chinh, District 1, until 18 November. —VNS


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