Painting is a silent poetry at the will of the artist’s imagination, capturing the soul through color.
These two artists from different backgrounds capture daily life in their own style. For them, painting is not about describing the object; it is a state of the spirit. They let colors dissolve and melt into visions of grandeur.
Phan Thu Trang is a Hanoi-born artist who had demonstrated artistic talent since the age of five. Trang’s naïve, decorative works are unmistakably Vietnamese in character. Her mind has been ingrained with images of Hanoi and the northern villages and in her works she captures these vivid memories of the villagers and their lives.
Trang’s paintings don’t attempt to reconstruct what she has seen but describe the emotions she has felt. Her brushstrokes become more and more refined, as if they are telling never-ending stories of the people living in Vietnam. In these stories, the sky and water are depicted with big knives. Contemplating the big blocks of colors sets viewers at peace. The artist details the leaf canopy with small brushstrokes, reserving the minutest ones for the figures.
The use of unusual pastel colors and controlled yet broad brushstrokes creates unique moods on the canvas and radiates a certain freshness. There is an almost-narrative established in her works, with a solo female cyclist eternally pedaling. The viewer does not know from whence she came or her destination. With her conical hat and downcast face she seems focused and determined; struggling, cycling against the odds. It looks as if she is caught in an eternal race against time as the cyclist features throughout multiple works representing various hours of day and night.
Trang graduated from the Hanoi Academy of Theater and Cinema in 2004, and her paintings have been exhibited from 1999 in Hanoi, Singapore, Hong Kong and Jakarta. Trang’s elegant depictions of landscapes and sceneries with the impasto painting technique (layering paint thickly so that it protrudes from the surface) have appealed to international art collectors.
Irene Hoff from Drachten, Holland lives and works in Bali. Hoff started her career doing commissioned work as a graphic and product designer. Bills paid, she was then free to work on her own series.
Hoff has presented one solo exhibition and has participated in several group exhibitions and art fairs in various galleries and art spaces in Indonesia, Vietnam and Holland. Having lived and worked across Southeast Asia over the past few years, diverse cultures have influenced her artistic style and theme.
People feel her paintings have an instant impact. The unique blend of modern and traditional culture takes art lovers into a mystical world that often only exists in their imagination. There is a wealth of intricate detail in each picture that requires in-depth study. Often, she incorporates a surprise angle to challenge the viewer with feelings of wonder, mystery, laughter, excitement and a longing to see more. It is said that her art pulls you into a place where you love to stay, a break from the ordinary. Moreover, it challenges people to believe in their imaginary worlds and create their own.
Vivid colors and a unique compilation of styles and visual elements like pictures, cartoons, symbols, signs and words, are often the basis for her collage-meets-pop-art style. All paintings are hand-painted, using mixed media of acrylics, oil paints and paper prints, but Hoff loves to work with stencils, spray paint, pencils and texture. pennywen.com