KVT at Chula with Ong Thien
It’s always an adventure to go to Chula on the lake, even when there isn’t an event on. The rich and bright fabrics that parade through Chula fashion creations make you think you are drifting into a treasure chest of fabulous gems.
The large altar room in the middle pavilion always brings out the storybook loving child in me, fabulously crammed as it is with gilt and object d’art old and new. A place you want to lose yourself in- but first of all make friends with the two, large and antlered, bronze deer that seem to quiz you as you take tentative steps into the gloaming depths.
It’s amazing how well the paintings of Nguyen The Thien amalgamate themselves into the setting.
Ong Thien was born in 1942 and the exhibition of work at Chula is a retrospective of his life and times since he graduated from the Fine Art University in the early sixties. There are paintings on silk, a couple of oils, watercolors……
……and a majority in gouache which, as a painting medium, sort of got smothered when acrylics became popular and affordable.
I particularly liked the gouache works of ship yards, done in the 1960ies and if you ever manage to take a trip out to the ship building places along the Song Hong in Nam Dinh Province before the river decides to get ready to spill into the Vinh Bac Ho through tributaries of marsh and mangroves, the pictures are very evocative
I also liked many of the plein air landscapes
and being a person who spent a childhood and adolescence on wind swept, wave curled beaches, with the tang of salt hanging in the air and clinging to clothes and forever gazing into salt soaked horizons, the seascape immediately pulled me into it
The exhibition was curated by one of Hanoi’s new wave of important artists, Nguyen The Son, to honor his father’s work. As Son points out, each painting tells a story in Ong Thien’s life journey and each is captioned.
As you may have realized by now, the family grouping on silk is a loving portrait of Ong Thien’s wife and two children.
It’s a really nice exhibition to be part of and is open at Chula until the 20th.
Visit Nguyen The Thien’s website.
|Kiem Van Tim is a keen observer of life in general and the Hanoi cultural scene in particular and offers some of these observations to the Grapevine. KVT insists that these observations and opinion pieces are not critical reviews. Please see our Comment Guidelines / Moderation Policy and add your thoughts in the comment field below.|