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Exhibition Spotlight—Tam Van Tran in Drawing: The Beginning of Everything

September 5, 2017

Tam Van Tran (American, born Vietnam, 1966). Untitled, 2007. Acrylic, spirulina, pencil, collage, and staples on paper, 16 x 14 x 4 7/8 inches (40.6 x 35.6 x 12.4 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Charles Clifton Fund, 2008 (2008:40.1). © 2007 Tam Van Tran

The Albright-Knox’s latest special exhibition, Drawing: The Beginning of Everything, celebrates contemporary artists’ diverse approaches to the medium. Here on the blog, we’re taking a closer look at several artists featured in the exhibition.

Tam Van Tran’s distinctive working methods result in hand-molded abstractions that resemble aerial maps when viewed from afar. He begins works like Untitled by painting and drawing an image on paper that he then manipulates into a three-dimensional object by cutting, hole-punching, stapling, and other processes. Tran’s work is full of dualities—abstraction and representation, natural and manmade, terrestrial and otherworldly. Through his imagery the artist, who is a devout Buddhist, explores the complexity of our universe, aiming to reconcile East and West by pursuing meditative mindfulness and beauty alongside darker sensibilities of violence and aggression.