As Above, So Below


Curiosity for our environment is what drives our knowledge.  This natural sequence stems from our perception and Vu Q. Nguyen’s artwork persuades us look beyond that surface. As a nature-inspired artist, he believes in the importance of organic interactions and how these impact our lives in a number of ways.

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Vu Nguyen’s work is abstract, but it hasn’t always been that way.  “Over the past several years, representational elements in my work have gradually vanished,” he says.  “My focus has shifted more towards the experiential aspects of art making.  I want to make thoughtful works that represent my cultural background and my relationship with the natural world.  The repetitive motion of making small marks within a confined space has a sort of meditative quality.  It describes a state of movement and continuous change.”   This show includes two seven-foot-tall paintings, Meridian 1 and 2, that represent this flow and change and dis-composition.  These are set off, or perhaps elaborated, by four series of drawings devoted to earth, the motion of water, and the complexity of surface.  “These patterns reflect my observations of the elements that make up physical and non-physical spaces,” says Nguyen.  “There is a sense of randomness dispersed among an organized matrix that relates to topographic maps in their description and quantification of boundaries, elevations, and depressions.  I use drawing and painting interchangeably to achieve a certain level of spontaneity.  Inevitably my early influences came from traditional Asian art, particularly landscape painting and its poetic connection to nature.”


In the 1960s, artists began to create work that was critical of traditional art world structures. They questioned what the true nature of art was, and how artwork was expected to look. These artists did not want to rely solely on illusion, or the traditional techniques of painting or sculpture. They believed that the idea is the most important part of the artwork, more important than the finished piece itself.

Susquehanna Art Museum presents an investigation of contemporary conceptual art in the S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollock Education Center Gallery August 10 – November 4, 2018. Through the work of eight regional artists, we will explore the processes that artists use to illustrate the unique concepts on display.

When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.  – Sol LeWitt, Artforum, June 1967




Art and the City: Vu Nguyen

The beauty of light and clarity, water and life, draws your attention to the center of the painting, “Nine Dragon River Delta.” Look again, it is being enveloped by a dark new reality. The timeless balance of life cycles in this region of Vietnam is dying.
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Foundry Gallery Group Show: “Memory” February 28 – April 1, 2018

Vu Nguyen’s Nine Dragon River Delta revisits a complex childhood scene, both in memory and in the present.

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Here & Elsewhere – Jan 31 – Feb 25

2118 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

Vu Nguyen paints passionate, modernist abstracts that refer with outraged mourning to ecological disasters in Vietnam, where he grew up. A physician and trained artist, Nguyen explores the theme further in a beautiful, dream-like series of drawings, Mountain Fire

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Tropical Wasteland: Vu Q. Nguyen solo exhibition
Friday November 3, 2017 – Sunday February 25, 2018

The abstracted landscapes of artist Vu Q. Nguyen are inspired by the Mekong River Delta region of Vietnam, where he was raised. The Mekong River Delta is where 22% of the country’s population lives and the source of approximately half of the country’s food production. Rising sea levels present a challenging environmental obstacle for agriculture in the region. What remains of the fertile land is plagued by widespread poverty. This poverty is rampant throughout the community that relies on the land for survival. As an observer, Nguyen’s work interprets the effects of humans on the environment. He believes that awareness of environmental issues such as climate change can be a first step towards making changes that will sustain future generations.

Press release