In his third solo exhibition at the gallery Tam Van Tran shows a group of new works on paper and formica. Entitled "Beetle Manifesto", the works in the exhibition originate from a meditative rumination of plant life. The works on paper are painted with chlorophyll, spirulina, and green pigments, and are then cut up and stapled into sculptural sheets warping and curving off the wall. Employing the same distinctive attention to detail as in his earlier work, Tran stapled, punch-holed, painted, crimped, and cut every inch of the paper, creating an intensely diminutive surface. The green brushed-on color connotes a forest environment in which legions of beetles have nibbled away at the surface, creating a stunningly coordinated visual lace work.
In the painting on formica some of the punch-holed paper circles reappear to form a subtle extraterrestrial map. Infinitesimal inhabitants and structures develop at the periphery of things, turning the remaining surface of the painting into a vast empty space. Soft shades of whites and delicate light greens link the painting visually with the paper works, creating an idiosyncratic language not very different from Tran’s paintings of the past: that of complexly coordinated webs of information, minuscule efforts connected together to create a stunning whole.
Tam Van Tran graduated from the Pratt Institute in New York and studied Animation at the Graduate School of Film and Animation at the University of California Los Angeles. He received the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Painting and the Pollock Krasner Fellowship in 2001. His work has been shown at the Cohan Leslie and Browne Gallery, New York, and has been included in exhibitions at Hosfelt Gallery and the Yerba Buena Center for Contemporary Art, San Francisco. His work will be included in "Art on Paper" at the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and in "International Paper" at the UCLA Hammer Museum in 2003. He is a visiting lecturer at UCLA from 2000-2002.