Roman Holiday

by Kim Chu and Aaron Grecynski

It is often said that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. This could never be more true in this series of works that explore a place on everyone’s top 10 list of most beautiful places in the world. Thanks to Pham Luan’s free spirited style and flamboyant use of colour, he captures Venice in a whole new light, and Hong Kong welcomes once again another talented artist to the table.

St. Mark's Square, 2002

Galerie La Vong will be offering local art lovers a collection of works by one of Hanoi’s most established landscape artists. “Venice  - Through the Eyes of Pham Luan” is a collection of Luan’s unique portrayal of a city admired and celebrated by artists for centuries. Inspired to capture the famous city, the artist hopes to woo the world with his portrayal of its richness and diversity through the Asian eye.

The collection is a wonderful assembly of breathtaking images of Venice, and Luan’s use of light helps him describe the water city with a fresh new appeal. Whether depicting an S-shaped canal slicing the city in half, an illuminated waterfront lined with an assortment of small vessels, or an arched bridge hosting a passing gondola, Luan’s celebration of light creates images full of shimmering life. He was captivated by the Italian city after his first trip, and subsequently returned so that he could show the world his unique portrayal of a place so different from his native land. His paintings are alive with bright gleams of sun reflecting off classic Italian structures beneath hearty blue skies. He paints with brilliant, luminous colours injecting energy and emotion to a city and buildings that date from the 12th century.

Luan’s technique employs a looser, more open style than in his previous collections. As he attempts to interpret a totally new environment, each vivid scene reflects his ability to respond so well to nature, serving as a sensitive perception of his romantic temperament. Although his works are simple in composition, he leaves a sense of spontaneity and freedom of colours and lines within. There is freshness to his colours, and bounce in every stroke to the canvas. Pastels blend nicely with his generous white strokes giving new life to each work. His style captures the vitality and vigour of his trips to the city, exploring its streets, markets and watery wonders.

"Venice – Through the Eyes of Pham Luan" is an exciting new series of works that help give a new angle on an age-old city of passion, art and timeless beauty. The opening of the exhibition will be joined by Luan himself, marking his sixth visit to Hong Kong since September 1994. The exhibition will continue until the end of April 2003.

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