Tam Van Tran, ‘Hats of Ferocious Lions’, 2017, Miles McEnery Gallery

About Tam Van Tran

Working with materials that jog his memories and reflect his experiences, Tam Van Tran makes abstract, mixed-media collages and sculptures dense with textured layers. His works range from large-scale canvases covered with thick accretions of found and natural materials to richly colored ceramic and glass sculptures. Everything he uses has personal significance. Porcelain and clay signify the ceramic jars in which his mother fermented fish sauce; copper leaf and palm fronds recall the palm trees of his native Vietnam and his adopted Los Angeles. Landscapes—of Vietnam during and after the war and Los Angeles and the California coast—strongly influence Tran. So do Eastern crafts and Western artistic movements like Arte Povera and California ceramics. His works read, in part, as landscapes—from the Vietnamese coastline littered with bombs to the American coast crisscrossed by freeways.

Vietnamese, b. 1966, Kon Tum, Vietnam, based in Los Angeles, California