Tammy Nguyen | CHICKENS OF THE TORRID SUMMER
 

Tammy Nguyen | CHICKENS OF THE TORRID SUMMER

CHICKENS OF THE TORRID SUMMER, an installation by Tammy Nguyen opens at the NCC East Campus Gallery on Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

Tammy Nguyen, painter, printmaker, bookmaker, created bold, strange, and inexplicable images of chickens. She states “I have eaten chicken my entire life, in many different ways—as drumsticks, nuggets, and cutlets; but also as stews where the ovaries, liver, and feet are delicacies. Consumers all have different spectrums of what they intake. There are audiences that have eaten all of it, and others that have eaten a selection. This spectrum of poultry consumption can also be an analogy (with flexibility) to a multitude of topics: like death. I have experienced death in a few ways — and this is diversifying as I get older: my grandmother died at ninety-seven, an uncle had a heart attack, an aunt passed away with cancer. However, there is another version of death that remains sensational to me, and that is death through war, terror, and diaspora. As a daughter of Vietnamese refugees and thus war survivors, the memory of war seems to be inherent in they way I was raised. War—and its sacrifices—gave specific urgency to my wellbeing, so that I could perhaps live a life void of trauma. My mother makes an amazing chicken soup. It always takes her days because she freezes it so that she can scoop out the fat. It is a clear broth made with so much care and patience. When I watch her make it, a recurring thought occurs, ‘How did you cook like that when there were missiles flying around outside?’ It is certain that I do not have memories of the Vietnam War, but I try to imagine what it could have been like. My understanding of it is constructed by literature, history, and oral stories. The memory void is engrained with pop culture: movies and comic books that speak of that era and the battlefield in general.”

Tammy Nguyen, Chickens of the Torrid Summer at the NCC Art Gallery

Nguyen concludes “This show is the imagination of that epic fantasy. Here, the war heroes, the fallen, the boy and his brother, the mothers and their children, are realized through the common chicken that I have painted from observation. But, through my process of creation, you see the fowl’s eyes roll back as death emerges, egg yolks push forward to look at you, testicles and breasts waver between what they are and are not, so that life can start all over again.”

Tammy Nguyen was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She received her BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art and her MFA from the Yale School of Art. In 2007 she received a Fulbright Fellowship to study lacquer painting in Vietnam. She has shown her work in the United States at El Ricon Gallery, Houston, TX; Lehman College Art Gallery, Bronx, NY and Industry City, Brooklyn, NY, as well as in Vietnam at San-Art. Nguyen now resides in the Bronx, New York, and works in Westport, Connecticut, where she is the art instructor at Pierrepont School. She is currently a 2014 Van Lier Fellow at Wave Hill and will participating in the Bronx Museum AIM Biennial in 2015. She was recently awarded awarded a Scholarship for Advanced Studies in Book Arts from the Center for Book Arts, New York, NY.

An artist’s talk and reception will be held on Wednesday, September 17 from 6:00–8:00 pm. The show closes Tuesday, October 21, 2014. A catalog of the exhibition can be downloaded here.

The NCC Art Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, Saturday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, closed on Sunday. For further information contact Susan Hardesty, Director of the NCC Art Gallery, at shardesty@ncc.commnet.edu or 857.7197.

Tammy Nguyen, Chickens of the Torrid Summer at the NCC Art Gallery

An artist talk with Tammy Nguyen at the opening reception for CHICKENS OF THE TORRID SUMMER

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