Vietnamese Painters Are Being Displayed at Craig Thomas Gallery, NY
Craig Thomas Gallery (CTG) was founded in 2009 with the express mission to create a much needed curated gallery space in Ho Chi Minh City focused primarily on the development of young Vietnamese visual artists. Over the nine years since its inception, CTG has endeavored to identify and support young artists and help them become established in their artistic practices. Although the gallery began with a local focus, CTG’s roster is now evenly balanced with artists from Vietnam’s three main art centers of Hanoi, Saigon and Hue. CTG hosts a regular program of exhibitions at our Saigon gallery which includes a minimum of two debutant artists having their first commercial gallery exhibitions each year.
The artists featured in CTG Nomad NYC – 2018 include many of the country’s strongest painters under forty years old with a number of them being under thirty. They hail from all corners of Vietnam and work with a variety of materials and a diversity of art practices. Their styles reflect a myriad of influences. Some continue to work and innovate with traditional materials like silk or do paper while others pursue distinctive new paths through wood burn. Many have points to make about the social and political issues that are affecting their country. Points which must be made with caution and an understanding of what is permissible expression in the country. Their assemblage for this exhibition is the result of more than a decade of explorative curating by CTG.
For generations, Vietnamese artists’ work has evinced the pervasive influence of early and mid-20th century European artists. The influence of French art and practice has also been particularly pronounced and a natural product of the colonizing country’s establishment of Vietnam’s first fine arts academy (École supérieure des beaux-arts de l’Indochine) in Hanoi in 1925. The two countries’ long ties have often seen many of Vietnam’s finest artists take the opportunity to live and work in Paris; a practice which continues to this day. This historical heritage has begun to be diminished, however, as economic development and political opening have allowed the country’s artists to travel the world – physically and through the internet – and gain a more comprehensive and international perspective on contemporary art.