The Reflection, solo exhibition, galerie Quynh, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam

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Galerie Quynh is pleased to present The Reflection, an exhibition of new work by Hanoi-based artist Ha Manh Thang. This is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery and showcases his most experimental and introspective works to date.
As Ha Manh Thang witnesses the erosion of time across the surfaces and in the details of ancient paintings and objects, he admits the tendency towards abstraction comes naturally through his own research and discovery of the works’ images, colors and multilayered meanings. His continuous exploration of Vietnamese heritage and culture, and love of antiques from lacquer panels and folding screens, to carvings and reliefs seems to parallel with his continuous contemplation upon the landscapes present in both the antiquities and in the natural world.
The belief in am and duong (yin and yang) plays a significant role in Vietnamese society where the spiritual is connected to everyday life. In Ha’s paintings, the tension that exists in this duality – between the spiritual and the physical world – is essential in creating a harmonious balance in his work. This is most evident in his current works, some of which include copper sheets left outside to the elements for years. Time is an important theme in Ha’s practice and even serves as a medium. Ha’s canvases are treated as organic and living; they will transform over time as the copper continues to oxidize. The work’s association to human life is not lost on viewers – copper being a trace mineral essential for human survival.
In a seamless reality enabled by the omnipresent flow of time, any interruption (or intervention) can neatly act as a spatiotemporal, and mental, medium of reflection. With Ha Manh Thang, his scenes are the depiction – thus reflection – of a landscape, whether actual and taken from particular images of the outside world, or imagined and originating from one’s inner psyche. Within the same painted space or context, these seemingly opposing forces indeed form up pairs of parallels that complement each other in harmony, through layers unto layers, of images and meanings, and through visual and textual motifs. As time permanently punctures through each and every layer of imagery, new spaces are created.
The exhibition title “The Reflection,” though deceptively simple, is deeply nuanced. Are we looking at a landscape or its shadow? Where does its exterior end and its interior begin? Is it situated in the past or extended to the present? In a recent interview with the artist, Los Angeles-based artist and curator Brian Doan states, “'The Reflection' is perceived to carry a sense of absence, where the particularities of time and space are erased and even blended into one another." To Ha, there are two modes of seeing in these works - one stemming from the emotional and mental state of the observer; the other arising as the scenery being observed enters into a mutual dialogue with the onlooker. With each painting in the series there are two different surfaces: the upper half painted on silk and the lower on canvas, therefore two different techniques, and thus, two different effects - the balanced with the transitory, the vigorous with the poetic, and the eternal with the ephemeral. Such limitless viability of reflection is enabled only and when one views life as a seamless, ongoing existence, trailing indefinitely across the passage of time. Ha Manh Thang states, “My artistic journey is a way for me to understand, appreciate and grasp what life is about. A life that’s not just meant to be experienced and embraced, but also left behind and forgotten; a life projected back onto ourselves.”
Notes on the exhibition:
Exhibition Dates: December 14, 2021 – January 8, 2022
Opening Reception: Sunday, December 12, 4 – 6 PM
Venue: Galerie Quynh - 118 Nguyen Van Thu, Dakao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Contact: [email protected] / +84 28 3822 7218
Hours: 10am – 7pm, Tuesday – Saturday, and by appointment.
* Galerie Quynh's public exhibitions are free of charge.