|Visions of Vietnam|
|The Maclaren Roberts Galleries|
...Once a struggling arist who tore up her old trousers to use material as a canvas, Mai Anh's life changed in 1997 when she read an article about a 78 year old lady who had taught herself to paint and had just completed 200 paintings. This was all the inspiration Mai Anh needed to start painting again. At the age of 36, she decided to start, so that by the time she was the same age as the woman, she too might be able to create 200 paintings.
After that day she focused all her attention on painting using as her source her chidhood experiences. As a child Mai Anh had been evacuated to the country so as to avoid the war. There she lived with a farmer and his family learning to love hardworking people and the land. Day and night she painted her memories of her times in the countryside with farmers in the fields, water buffalo ploughing the rice fields and women with their lofty sacrifice.
There is a subtle yet wide range of expression in the paintings of this female artist. Her affectionate look at the countryside reflects her compassion for the people in that landscape. The gloomy shapes of women and their conical hats are set against a background of reds, browns and greyish yellows. There are no human faces, and their stances are symbolic yet feminine, showing the enduring sorrow of Vietnamese women, a feeling which is clearly illustrated by the use of sharp gradients of colour and silhouette. Women depicted in the paintings often appear small against a background of rain or wind or dust, which is too enormous compared with their lot.
Mai Anh's brushwork expresses subtlety and the precise traditional nature and emotion of Vietnamese women from a far-off time. That is why her paintings are extremely expressive - they move our soul through their composition, by their colour harmonies and by the tender strokes filled with sympathy and compassion. Her work is exhibited in Australia for the first time...
|( "Antiques in New South Wales" - Magazine in Australia , May - September 2002 )|