Zee Stone

"At the Height of Summer"

- Lacquer paintings and woodblock prints by Phung Pham

18 - 28 May 2006

Zee Stone Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of lacquer paintings and woodblock prints by the respected Vietnamese master Phung Pham.

Phung Phamís lacquer paintings evoke a lyrical vision of the Vietnamese countryside, where planting rice and gathering the harvest are the work of the whole village and all tasks are performed by hand. His timeless scenes of peasant life highlight the role of women, their strength and beauty, whether at work or in moments of relaxation. Phung Pham uses flat planes of bold colour to produce flowing lines that echo the rhythms of daily life. His figures are stylized in schematic compositions with a strong geometric element. Women pounding corn or drying rice appear like dancers on a stage, acting out rituals of country life that have persisted for centuries.

Phung Pham was born in 1934 in Vinh Yen Province, on the Red River, an area famous for the ancient art of woodblock printing. As early as the 12th century, the Vietnamese were using woodblocks to produce printed collections of Buddhist sutras. Later, such prints were used to relate well-known stories and folk tales. It was in this medium that Phung Pham began his artistic career. After graduating from the prestigious Hanoi Fine Arts University, he decided to specialize in two different media: woodblock prints and lacquer paintings. Over his long career, Phung Pham has known many master lacquer painters and gained wide experience of this traditional Vietnamese art.

Seeking to preserve these two traditional media, which are part of the heritage of Vietnam, Phung Pham is one of the few modern artists capable of experimenting with their technical possibilities. His elegant black and white woodblock prints of ladies in Japanese-style kimonos display his mastery of pattern and line and show an innovative use of the medium. Similarly, Phung Pham uses lacquer in a modernist way, emphasizing colour contrasts and reducing his colours to their simplest form as in the traditional lacquerware of Vietnamís ancient pagodas and temples.

The artist will be in Hong Kong and available for interviews. A catalogue will be available.