Humboldt State University

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Art Prof Featured at Local Gallery - Humboldt State Now

Art Prof Featured at Local Gallery

Humboldt State University First Street Gallery is pleased to present, "Lien Truong: Portrait of a Contemporary Family," on exhibition from April 1, 2006 through May 14, 2006.

Humboldt State University First Street Gallery is pleased to present, “Lien Truong: Portrait of a Contemporary Family,” on exhibition from April 1, 2006 through May 14, 2006.

Truong teaches in the art department at Humboldt State University. Her exhibition will feature two series of family portraits built on concepts developed in her previous works and will reflect contemporary social issues regarding identity and family.

Truong’s paintings challenge concepts of family and identity as presented in traditional European portraiture. In that tradition, status was shown through a system of idealization, which employed signifiers, such as clothing, locale, possessions and positioning of subjects. In one series, Truong creates photo-realistic paintings of two generations of a family against a stark-white background. The finished paintings deny the viewer any signifying context; each piece has a sense of ambiguity that triggers questions concerning sexual orientation, familial relations, social standing and ethnicity. Viewers bring their own ideals and prejudices to these paintings. With this in mind, these portraits recognize the non-conventional family, now typical in modern society.

Truong’s new series, “Contemporary Family,” continues the social investigation of family and identity, using ambiguity with a new emphasis. Where ambiguity was created by the absence of signifiers in her earlier paintings, the missing element is now the bodies of family members. These are pictures of invisible, but clothed, people seated in rooms. The ethnicity, age, religion and perhaps gender, of the family members are left unknown. The paintings act to reflect the viewers’ biases regarding social class and race.

Truong, who received a Master of Fine Arts from Mills College in Oakland, Calif., has exhibited her work in many venues throughout the West. Her work has also been published in the prestigious New American Painting.