Predation (Circumnavigating Peach Beach)
"The landscape is both anchored to the real world and the imagined. The reference photo used was one I took on one of my runs through Trout Lake prequarantine. Running has changed my painting process, and has become one of the few things that is keeping me sane during this time. One could choose to interpret this painting as a literal representation of me chasing my muse. For a very long time, I was convinced that I could solve all my problems through rationalization and literature. I have now come to realize that some problems (especially anxiety-based) can be solved by running in circles like a stir-crazed hound.
"Additionally, I was raised to think the world to be a scary place full of untrustworthy people who will hurt and take advantage of you. This is obviously an unhealthy mindset to superimpose on your child, but understandable when considering that both my mother and father grew up/was in an unstable country torn by political strife and war. These values and impulses make sense in that particular context. I’m sure it helped them adapt and survive. For me, these learned behaviours and fears feel untethered, lacking no real comprehension of my own anxieties. This is what intergenerational trauma feels like to me: A painful echo of an echo that constantly reverberates in the hollow of your body. (How do I process a trauma that isn’t mine?)
"My parents were not wrong about their assessment of the world—it is very scary place, and that is something that becomes more apparent every day, but there are also a lot of beautiful things to appreciate within it as well. Running has helped me immensely in understanding my own autonomy. It makes me feel powerful and capable.
"I have become appreciative of my body’s very basic ability physically propel itself forward and freely. It is one of the very few moments in my life where I can feel fully present, and not only engaged in the world around me, but also appreciative of the simple things within it. This painting is probably the most personal out of them all."
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.