Xuan Minh Hoang is a very close friend of mine. She studied at Chelsea College of Fine Art before completing a degree in Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins. Her work grows out as a rejection to the limitations of graphic design and her paintings are a free-flowing expression open to interpretations by the viewer and not set ideas by the artist. Her abstract paintings seem to have an internal struggle within them, which manages to capture both chaos and calm in a harmonious sync - almost like a battle between Ying and Yang.
Her paintings are inspired by the both the environment around her as well as her own memories and imagination, which lends a richness to her work that evokes different reactions in people who view her work. Almost like an inkblot test, viewers recognise different aspects in her abstraction: what I see as snowy mountains or ancient ruins another viewer may interpret as waves, smoke or an urban landscape.
As her larger pieces are very time consuming and therefore expensive, she has begun to created smaller paintings to make them accessible to a wider audience. Her smaller works are reminiscent of Turner, whilst still maintaining the same abstractions found in her larger pieces. On a smaller scale, her works have more energy and less of a balance between chaos and peace.
I have recently bought two of her small paintings and as someone who greatly appreciates art, it's exciting to finally start off what will hopefully be a life-long collection. Some of the most interesting homes I have ever visited have an extensive art collection and two that stand out are a house in Brockley that had an entire staircase adorned with hundreds of unique prints, poems and photographs. The other house is a topsy-turvy house in Brixton that is full of brightly-coloured Keith Haring prints, beautiful installation pieces by Lee Broom and an array of art steeped in the history of the collector's life.
The two paintings I have chosen to buy are and . I fell in love with . I view it as a hectic London skyline juxtaposing a calm and tranquil Thames. For me, it evokes memories of standing on Waterloo bridge whilsy overlooking South Bank.
Xuan and I are currently collaborating on a series as we share a very similar aesthetic. Through the use of photography and paint, we aim to explore the transient nature of her piece Floating Village. The technique she uses to 'paint' her piece Floating Village isn't a permanent one; the painting doesn't exist in the state that we view it in and and therefore it isn't presented as a traditional painting but as a photograph. Our project is called Call of the Void, after the English translation of L'appel du Vide and is an exploration of the human condition. L'appel du Vide is a French saying used to describe the inner-voice that attempts to derail us; it is the voice that tries to persuade us to jump off a cliff, look over the edge of the platform when the train is coming or walk into a lane of traffic. I can't wait to start shooting!