Artist Statement and Bio: As an immigrant from Vietnam - and deeply indebted to his adopted country - Dan Tran believes that, at no other time, has our society been more torn between different ideologies, our democracy more on the verge of dissolution, and our interpersonal relationships more frayed. His work offers a fresh look – through the eyes of a child - at pressing socio-political issues of our time (climate change, pandemic, criminal justice, human rights, racism, voter disenfranchisement, etc.) and subjects of perpetual interpersonal interest (love, hope, healing, community, creativity). His paintings express horror, shock, and revulsion at what we, as a community, have lost in the last two years due to “INfection” (both in the physical and metaphorical sense), but also joy, hope, wonder at what we have found and can build in interpersonal relationships.
Viewers encounter childlike stick figures, floating urban landscapes, imaginary space, and characters from history, pop culture and contemporary politics – all telling today’s narratives. Occasionally, Dan Tran’s art incorporates naive reflections by alien characters upon our vexing conundrums. To bring about a rich, dreamlike background, Dan Tran puts down several layers of paint on each canvas. He then textures the flat surface with mesh-shaped acrylic paste, or glue on foreign objects to create a rough, 3D illusion of gritty realities. Almost childlike, he disregards the conventions of perspectives and proportions, and freely engages in geometric abstraction of forms. He then unleashes the power of brushstrokes, line drawing and mark making to tell the story.
Self-taught, Dan Tran is inspired by the primitivism of a Henri Rousseau and the social engagement of the Mexican muralists, the color exuberance of a Matisse and the subconscious action of the Abstract Expressionists.