NHAT TRAN was born in Vietnam and has been a U.S. citizen since the mid-1990s. She graduated from the University of Fine Arts, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 1992. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, as an independent artist specialized in urushi painting and sculpture. Her lacquer paintings have garnered much interest and appreciation in Indiana: her largest artwork to-date, On the Tip of Our Wings, consists of 29 lacquer pieces, two of which are three-dimensional. It was commissioned by the Indianapolis Airport Authority and has been on display in the Indianapolis International Airport since 2008. The Indiana State Museum acquired one of her lacquer paintings and showed it on several occasions, each time as part of an exhibition showcasing essential artists representing the best of Indiana art history. Major museums that have acquired her work include the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Hubei Museum of Art. She has received grants from several institutions, including the Indianapolis Arts Council and the Asian Cultural Council. Her work has been exhibited in several countries in Europe and Asia, as well as in many American states through twenty solo exhibitions and more than fifty group shows. She has been a guest researcher in the Urushi Section of the Department of Crafts, Tokyo University of the Arts (2010), and also in the Urushi Lacquering Section in the Department of Crafts, Kyoto City University of the Arts, Japan (2015).
Inclination to Believe
Urushi (Japanese lacquer), pigments, silver leaves, on 3-D extruded polystyrene. Dimensions: 24″ x 18″ x 8″. Creation year: 2004. Creation place: Indianapolis, IN.
This is the first urushi sculpture the artist made out of extruded polystyrene. The artwork seeks to draw feelings at once sensuous and mysterious. Although nearly weightless, its quasi-metallic surface gives it weighty substance. Its contemplative look never ceases to rouse new insights.
When after much questioning of facts and weighing of evidence;
We begin shedding our doubts, shaking off our hesitation;
We express clearer thoughts, think up a stronger defense;
Our mind begins to tip, swayed in a new direction;
Our head begins to nod, our eyes steady their gaze;
A feeling rushes through, gushes out in saccades of yeas.
No longer do we object, no longer do we resist the inclination to believe.
We accept the truth, and live and act accordingly, no longer on the qui vive.