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Art Critic : On one’s own sweet way by Luong Xuan Doan

I don’t think that the present exhibition of Tran Dinh Khuong is the return to the traditional medium of lacquer. For many years he has been experiencing the mystical, timeless life of lacquer: previously, as a diligent pupil helping his teachers successfully execute the different phases of making a lacquer painting, and later, as an independent artist fully qualified to tread on his own sweet way amidst the boundless world of art.

Now all the sophisticated skills of this difficult artistic medium are no more a challenge to Khuong. Egg shells are ready to soften up and be transformed into gold, silver, vermillion and black lacquer. Strokes in the same rich vein appear as a long breath of calligraphy or China ink painting and it is truly hard to find out where the first spiral streak of the brush stroke has started. The medium melts away, spills or is sharpened but in the finest drawing lines the gentle whiteness of egg shells even shows up, intermingled with the tantalizing glow of gold and silver, no matter whether the metal is soundly buried under several layers of lacquer or suddenly emerges most splendidly on the picture surface.

The Vietnamese village or countryside never fades away in any person’s mind. With Khuong this is a good motive for him to express the affection, the remembrance, the piety of an individual who, though living far from his native village, never forgets the familiar road leading to his grandmother’s pond in which blossom lotus and nenuphar flowers as well as the village festivities or market-place where pastoral songs continually resound throughout the four seasons.
It is not the return to lacquer art, Tran Dinh Khuong has opened up his own way that gently alternates the image of the native with his quiet concentration and meditation within the infinite and empty space of lacquer.

Artist Luong Xuan Doan

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