UYEN-THI NGUYEN

FINE ART GALLERY

Portrait of a City -
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Garden of People, A Portrait of Cottage Grove

My upcoming book and exhibit is an artist's perspective on society, using Cottage Grove, Oregon as the basis for exploration. It will showcase about forty oil portraits, a few landscapes, and be intermingled with intimate, anonymous quotes from conversations with the subjects. The project is designed to be experiential, allowing viewers to formulate their own views of society through words and experiences of the subjects, and through expression of the art. In this time of uncertainty, isolation and polarity, this project explores humanity in a way I hope will bring people closer together.

Using census data as a guide, I'm working with ratios regarding gender, age, race and household income to roughly represent the demographics of the city. Each portrait is painted to express what truths they have to share at that moment – to tell a touch of their story, of themselves and what they see.

“I needed to really change and get grounded more as the scary realities and all the dystopian novels I've read are true now, and getting a dose of reality. but not losing my light still, I mean that's what's going out. My beliefs are gone, my lightness is gone and... 'cuz it's so hard to find that now that I know and see everything. But I know it's gotta come back, like it has to, or I'm gonna kill myself – it's so dark. And I know that I need to help right now. There's no other option. I can't just do massage and “make people feel good.” I have to do the nitty gritty stuff. I'm trying to find out how. 'Cuz if I keep going down this sad spiral of reality I won't be able to get back out.”

In Cottage Grove, or in any city, we live together, yet we are individual. There is a bit of everyone in each of us, and at the same time, there is no one like us in all the world. Perhaps in looking at this “portrait” of a city, of folks living together, people from different socioeconomic classes, different beliefs, and viewpoints, we can discover some beautiful secrets about society and humanity, and amazingly, ourselves.

"Garden of People, A Portrait of Cottage Grove" is live on Kickstarter until May 31, 2021. To read more about this project, visit The Sentinel, The Chronicle and, Free For All News for some great articles and to see how the project has evolved over time. For upcoming dates and the latest info, subscribe to my newsletter! Thank you for your support.

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