Open when you forget
December 6, 2018 - January 26, 2019
Specialist presents Open when you forget, an exhibition of works by Tuan Nguyen titled after a private note written by his 8-year-old daughter to herself. Nguyen describes this recent work as an “abstract time capsule of the fleeting and the inconsequential, yet important in the subconscious that forms our actions".
Here, the unknown is conceptualized in physical form, presented as “objects in physical space as well as pictures and portals in a figurative one”. In these works, Nguyen addresses his personal history parallel to the collective cultural history of war, colonialism, and assimilation, with cyclical and non-linear points in time pinned to the present moment. These dualities of the physical/figurative and the personal/collective paint “the private and the public colliding within the space of the work.”
Nguyen’s work seeks to contort and re-imagine the elemental components of traditional painting. His use of familiar materials with an unorthodox treatment infuses the work with instability and uncertainty, inviting recalibration and a reassessment of expectations regarding the expansion of painting’s formal language. Open when you forget continues Nguyen’s experimentation with play, precariousness, and ambiguity in both physical form and conceptual expectations.
Born in Vietnam and raised in Rockledge, FL, Nguyen currently lives and works in Seattle, WA, where he received his MFA in painting from the University of Washington in 1999. A 2018 Neddy award finalist in painting, Nguyen’s work has been exhibited nationally in Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Seattle, WA and St. Louis, MO.