Anthony Meier Fine Arts is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new work by Los Angeles artist Tam Van Tran. Blurring the boundaries between painting, drawing and sculpture, Tran employs unconventional materials to create abstract compositions that reference both the natural and super-natural worlds. Tam Van Tran is currently included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial.
Tran’s work speaks to the complex infrastructure of our universe. Early paintings depict images of satellites and spaceships. The pieces in this exhibition continue an ongoing series of large-scale drawings collectively titled Beetle Manifesto that reference sub-lunar topography. Tran’s investigation of the cosmos serves as a mirror to the human experience, maneuvering the vast, undulating, unpredictable terrain of life.
In the Beetle Manifesto series, Tran takes a gestural painting and morphs it into an abstract sculpture. Starting with a piece of paper painted with materials such as spirulina, chlorophyll, and acrylic, Tran cuts the paper into strips, crimps or hole punches each strip, then reconnects the pieces using thousands of staples. The malleable strips of paper combined with the rigid metal staples often warp the paper and push the artwork into the realm of three-dimensional sculpture as opposed to two-dimensional work on paper.
Beetle Manifesto drawings cull sci-fi principles of the future but also allude to the isolation of undisturbed nature. This unblemished nature in turn alludes to meditation and the spiritual exploration of the potential of the human mind. The title of the exhibition, Lord of Hot Butter, is also a reference to this level of contemplation.
The calm, serenity and intellectual depth of meditation clearly influences Tran’s work but his drawings are by no means passive. They are terrestrial. They have different topographies and engage multiple layers of cerebral and tangible reference. Testing boundaries, shifting between the industrial and the organic, the abstract and the representational, the delicate and the roughly handled, Tran’s work is an aggressive statement as well as an offering to nature.