The painting Ecotone was created with a desire to connect the already existing worlds of Nguyen’s paintings in order to establish a richer and more layered narrative for the audience through a shared sense of place. The two biomes being depicted in Ecotone — white sand beaches as well as a lively and dense tropical rainforest — both of these biomes are also prominent featured in Floatie in Jade Green and The Wedding Party. In creating this new affiliation between pre-existing paintings, Nguyen nurtures the empathetic capacity of her audience by adding elements of wayfinding and geography to the reading of her work.
Nguyen reasons, “It is very difficult to grasp the size of the world in which we inhabit, and the amount of people we share it with, so I want to emphasize the importance of human interaction and connection through the medium of painting.”
The paintings together read much like a non-traditional triptych akin to Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, but instead of moving one’s eyes from left to right like the reading of Western literature, one maps and navigates between all three paintings with less passivity and a greater sense of physical presence and three-dimensional space.
When personally navigating between these three particular paintings, Nguyen sees herself starting at the beach in Floatie in Jade Green and walking further down along the shore to cross over into the forest space in Ecotone, and once deep into the thicket, she finds an outrageous party in full swing as depicted in The Wedding Party. The narrative of these three companion pieces can also be read in reverse order, the loose structure provided allowing the audience an interpretive fluidity, so that, though the three paintings are narratively connected, they are able to exist autonomously.
Nguyen's illustrative paintings employ a variety of techniques using oil paint and pastel on a canvas surface. Rife with narrative symbols, her dramatic tableaus sing with chaotic tension and humorous undertones. Painted in jewel tones and highlighted by soft-hued pastels, starkly contrasted by bold gestural markings, Nguyen's works are ready to hang framed or unframed.