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Art Critic : The Return by Bui Nhu Huong

Living in the city’s noisy and stuffy surroundings and witnessing the messy and hurried changes of present-day life in the course of irresistible globalization, Tran Dinh Khuong – like many other contemporary artists seem to rediscover peace of mind through the return to his real self or, to be more precise, to the peaceful atmosphere of the Vietnamese countryside that is full of the souvenirs of his sweet and fanciful childhood.
In fact, the native village offers an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Khuong’s art. The poetic, serene beauty of a wharf, a boat, a lotus pond, a cluster of banana trees as well as the seasonal changes in which nature is a real symphony of perfume and colors such as the season of lotus flowers, rice seedlings replanting time, the approach of autumn or winter, etc, all this is apt to evoke pastoral and lyrical melodies or inspire subtle artistic feelings that invite and prompt the painter to create works of art

Tran Dinh Khuong paints with his zealous and relentless nostalgia for the Vietnamese countryside and deep human feelings as well. A range of simple, bright, innocent, joyful and witty feelings is then expressed through the themes of childhood: buffalo and cow herding, crab and fish catching, playing children’s “game of squares” or through themes depicting plain and gentle rural scenery e.g. going to market, picking lotus flowers, honoring Buddha at the pagoda… The artist all pictured all them in monumental, brilliant, eye-catching compositions with the rhythm of contemporary, decorative design and the warm, splendid color scheme of the Vietnamese traditional and very original lacquer medium.

Sometimes Khuong’s pictures attract us by the artist’s childlike funny and liberal view: he painted them while glancing from the top downwards or from the back or occasionally from the tour directions, which gives rise to his novel, multidirectional compositions rich in creative, impromptu inspiration. His language of expression is lively, vivid, imbued with decorative and conventional character, an influence inherited from Vietnamese traditional folk art. This characteristic feature has personalized Tran Dinh Khuong’s art, made it easy to be identified and enhanced its national character. At the same time this is proof of a quite vigorous tendency in Vietnamese painting in the period of DOIMOI: artists now tend to revert to the nation’s origins by exploiting the spirit of folk art the village culture.

Could it be that this is the profound meaning and message the Tran Dinh Khuong would like to convey to his friends and art lovers through his present solemn and lacquer paintings exhibition entitled “ the Memories of Childhood”?

Bui Nhu Huong – art Critic

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