Nguyen Quang Huy, Tribal Indochine 3 (2008). Photo courtesy The Curator’s

Much of Huy’s work consists of silhouetted portraits represented through photorealism. His work is mysterious; he does not explicitly spell out its meaning. By early 2002, Huy began painting several Russian burlap “head portraits.” Beginning without a central plan or specific concept, he started painting formal full frontal portraits of women’s faces, from just below the neckline. Employing a simple and direct approach, he found that there was a potential for a large series. He has now completed nearly 100 portraits; each one 100cm square.The subjects of Huy’s portraits are not specific people. The subjects are typical people of Vietnam, mostly from the northern part of the country. Huy has used many different painting techniques in his portrayals. His main method is to apply a photographic feel to the imagery. Furthermore, his subjects appear ghostly and all display mystifying, haunting expressions that penetrate one’s soul. These powerful works make the viewer wonder about the subjects’ lives and feelings. The expressions are so coherently universal that all are able to relate and feel the solemnity and anguish of these people.

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