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Monday, May 23, 2016

Painting as Haiku


“Paintings can convey an immense significance with few colors and details.”
Nguyen Than Binh

The frugal simplicity that is one of the hallmarks of much Asian art is a predominant characteristic of the paintings of the Vietnamese artist Nguyen Than Binh. Using Western materials, Nguyen employs a palette restricted to subdued hues of creams, browns and whites punctuated occasionally with reds and blacks to create his almost impressionistic works that evoke the strains of classical music and Japanese Haiku poetry.

As he told Toriizaka Art “I use oils and canvas originated in the west and combine them with my easter eyes, hands and mind to create my paintings. My pieces may appear to be simple but my mind is brimming with memories, feelings and passion and each of them quietly resonates from my soul.”

A point he elaborated upon at Tanya Baxter Contemporary stating “I like minimal subject and a maximum idea just like Japanese Haiku or Tang dynasty poetry. I like Haiku very much because it is very simple and contains many ideas. I have no difficulty with simplicity but I need a lot of time for a painting. Sometimes I work on a painting for a few days, a few weeks, or even years.”

Nguyen also gains inspiration for his work from western ballet and classical music.

About which he told the Thavibu Art Advisory “Fine Art is not about philosophy or literature, but about music”.

But overall it is the juxtaposition of the two ideas inherent in the 5-7-5 syllable constructed Japanese poetic form that underpins Nguyen’s work.

As he told Tutt’art “I’m not trying to follow any trends, I’m just searching for beauty as I see it, a beauty for everyone. The structure in my paintings tells the viewer many things beyond the surface. The aim in my work is to condense the narrative. I like minimal subject and a maximum idea just like Japanese Hiaku.”


Nguyen’s current exhibition Hometown is on show at Ho Chi Minh City’s Craig Thomas Gallery from the 27th of May.


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