Ngo Van Sac searches for himself ‘In the Midst of Life’

‘In the Midst of Life’, a solo exhibition of wood burn paintings by Hanoi-based artist Ngo Van Sac, will be held at Craig Thomas Gallery downtown from October 25 to November 25.

It will feature the artist’s passion in blocks of fresh, untreated wood that grip his images with rawness and the curved veins in the wood’s surface take the eyes gently up and down the portraits, sneaking into the intricacies of the pictures.

Sac’s production process must involve a lot of planning, but the artworks are never overdone. Minimal color and simple materials prevent visual saturation and then he pencils the outlines onto the wooden blocks, then blowtorches them, masking off areas with a metal spatula to modulate the color. The burnt images are surprisingly detailed, and fire alone cannot offer such sharpness.

Sac has always painted people. In previous exhibitions, he has shown historical characters with older, wiser faces, or sometimes groups of sitters. This time, he turns inwards with his self-portraits which may be construed as self-indulgent, an honest search, and an expression of personal emotion.

Sac grew up in a village 20 kilometers from Hanoi and those peaceful memories will be recalled in bicycles, trees and water lilies which fade their way into the images, like déjà-vu of a tranquil lifestyle that is almost mythical for the urban youth.

The two installation pieces of the collection create the sensation of a flow around the wooden shapes. Each prism presents different moods of the artist, under the perspectives of several individuals. The narrative unfolds as the viewer walks around, showing little action. It’s a story of the subtle changes in emotion that come and go all the time.

Craig Thomas Gallery is located at 27i Tran Nhat Duat Street in District 1.

By My Tran in HCMC

Source : TheSaigonTimes

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