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Thu Nguyen About

Thu Nguyen is an American realist with a modernist vision. Her paintings are well within the tradition of American realism as defined by artists such as Thomas Eakins and Andrew Wyeth. Like these artists, Nguyen looks at America s heart, its land and its people , and describes the beauty she finds in everyday life. Her paintings celebrate the underlying epic nature of the commonplace and the personal significance of the extraordinary. Thu was educated at the California State Long Beach University, where realist principles must be grasped before modernist ventures are encouraged. She pushes the boundaries of the realist tradition with her multilayered imagery. Life, death, passage, memory, and confrontation coexist easily in her world. Thu and her children are the cast of characters that appear in her dreamlike narrative works. Although the scenes are set around her mundane daily activities in her island home in Hawaii, or the surroundings of her studio and residence in the U S mainland, they represent a deeper, mythical concept of the archetypal, universal home. 2 comments


I was born in Saigon, Vietnam. Being very shy, I spent much of my childhood upstairs making quilts, doll clothes, and painting, instead of playing with other children. My painting won Best of Show prize at a 1974 children's exhibition in Saigon sponsored by UNICEF. In 1975, my family was split up. I ended up in Hong Kong for a year prior to immigrating to the United States as an orphan. After one very snowy and cold winter in Pennsylvania, I came to Los Angeles ( where I had a stint with Hollywood - I got a part in Oliver Stone's 'Heaven and Earth' and followed with a lead role in Elizabeth Hong Yang's 'Touch Within' in China , while working as a fashion model for 4 years). I received my BFA in painting at California State University Long Beach . Since then I have lived, worked, and exhibited my work in many parts of the U.S.

I have received grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation two times, and three times from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation. My work is represented in many public and private collections in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Mexico .

Last but not least, my painting has been selected as Finalist and will be included in the portrait competition exhibition at the Smithsonian__??s National Portrait Gallery (NPG) from March 12, 2016 through January 8, 2017. It will then travel to four host museums across the country from February 2017 through August 2018.


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