Fragmenting historic paintings, art, film and the gaming industry, Lien Truong’s mixed media paintings inform “our collective notions of heritage.”
The narrative of Role Playing Games, with virtual landscapes reminiscent of mythologized American manifest destiny, coupled with default white male avatars, become the backdrop and critique of Lien Truong’s paintings. Researching and reading RPG theory from a feminist, queer and multiracial perspective, Truong weaponizes her paintings to challenge the perpetuated culture of violence, inverting the romanticized RPG space and its domination of women and POC.
Aware of the religious and cultural ideologies associated with painting, her work tests the hybridity and historic hierarchies of painting techniques, materials and philosophies from the “West” and Asia. She subverts color and values, staging a background layered with singed panels of painted floating silk and carefully blended gestures of oil paint, amidst interpretations of historic textile patterns and hegemonic iconography. Creating a powerful fictive of female authority, with significant icons such as Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink, the first non-white, and first Asian American woman elected to congress, and Anna May Wong, an exoticized and eroticized silent-era film star, Truong presents female protagonists who become forceful real-life counterpoints to the fictionalized bravado of the RPG.
Lien Truong is an Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She graduated with a BFA in 1999 from Humboldt State University and an MFA from Mills College, Oakland in 2001. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery; North Carolina Museum of Art; Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, Texas; the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Moscow; Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA; Nha San Collective, Hanoi, Vietnam; Art Hong Kong; S.E.A. Focus, Singapore; and Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA. She is the recipient of several awards including the Whitton Fellowship, and fellowships from the Institute for the Arts & Humanities and the North Carolina Arts Council. Residencies include the Oakland Museum of California and the Marble House Project, Vermont. Her work has been reviewed in ArtAsiaPacific; The San Francisco Chronicle; Houston Chronicle; Oakland Tribune; New American Paintings; and ART iT Japan. Her work is in several public collections including the Linda Lee Alter Collection of Art by Women at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (USA), DC Collection (Disaphol Chansiri, Chiang Mai, Thailand), North Carolina Museum of Art (USA), the Weatherspoon Art Museum (USA), and the Post Vidai and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Vietnam).