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“It will be difficult to name a class of Landscape in which the sky is not the chief ‘Organ of sentiment.’ ” – John Constable
Drawing on the canonical status of historic American and British landscape painting, Lien Truong examines the intertwined relationships between the guiding principles that influence these aesthetic forms, and their associations with actual legacies from hegemony, war and colonialism.
Truong’s work interrogates the line that divides painting history into the categories of "eastern painting" and "western painting". Creating a practice born from a hybridity of aesthetics derived from American and Asian painting philosophies and materials, she tests the historical hierarchies assigned to these cultural forms. Her paintings are an amalgamation of narrative, landscape, and gestural abstraction in oil and on silk. In The Sky is Not Sacred, Truong situates the lineage of reverence for the sky in painting history, with it as a weaponized space used in American military campaigns.
Included in the exhibition is a single channel video which was created in collaboration with artist Hồng-Ân Trương. In the video, footage taken from war planes in the sky during the American War in Việt Nam chronicles the perspectives of fighter pilots, and is juxtaposed with a narrative by John Constable, the 19th century British painter whose keen observations of the sky and clouds established a distinct landscape painting practice.
The Sky Is Not Sacred suggests the tension between the aesthetic and the political, and asserts the way in which Western ideologies have violently impacted the global landscape, and how they have shaped our cultural and emotional relationship to landscape as an imaginary space.
Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Lien Truong's work examines social, cultural, and political history. Her practice explores the influences that form belief systems in a transcultural context. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery; North Carolina Museum of Art; Station Museum of Contemporary Art; Weatherspoon Art Museum; Oakland Museum of California; Nhasan Collective and Galerie Quynh, Vietnam; Art Hong Kong; S.E.A. Focus, Singapore; and Southern Exposure. Her awards include fellowships from the Institute of Arts and Humanities and the North Carolina Arts Council, and residencies at the Oakland Museum of California and the Marble House Project. She has received reviews and mention in Art Asia Pacific, The San FranciscoChronicle; Houston Chronicle; Oakland Tribune; New American Paintings, and ARTit Japan. Truong is a recipient of a 2019 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant.