“Ann Phong is the poetic painter of our detritus-marred journey together through life. Her accomplished abstract paintings are transformed into statements with the inclusion of collaged-in detritus and debris. ….”
A gifted painter with a penchant for subtle but nonetheless critical narrative, Phong offers more than a cursory look into Vietnamese/American history. Juxtaposing heavily impasto layers with finer, more transparent ones, as well as vaguely delineated images, she effectively conveys the complexity of her feelings.
In her work “Fishes in the Water” (2018), one can make out tiny fish swimming in liquid, yet the water has been polluted by orange and brown and sickly green chemicals, waste and discarded objects, such as plastic container tops and a spiky rubber child’s ball. It’s somewhat depressing, yet strangely beautiful at the same time.
“WHAT: Water has been a constant image and theme in Phong’s work. As she explains it, “The sea saved me.” Many of her paintings include circular elements that echo the shape of the planet while colors and swirling brushwork invoke the rhythmic motion of the sea. The titles of her paintings tend to raise questions and encourage dialogue about our relationship with the environment, and specifically the effects of our human actions with the ocean ….”