Cunningham Gallery

"Jade Vine" Print - Phan Nguyen Barker

$20.00 USD

Originally batik painted on silk and now available as ink on paper poster print.

Phan Nguyen Baker says of her first days in Hawaii, “Never in my life did I see more beautiful, beautiful flowers, foliage, ocean, so I began painting—painting flowers like crazy.”   Born in Vietnam in 1946 in the village of Tu Chau, north of Hanoi, she fled with her father and siblings to South Vietnam and grew up during the years of the Vietnam war.  As a young adult, she worked as an interpreter for an Air Force chaplain, Father Cain, who encouraged and assisted her to travel to America to study.   She left her father and family behind, with hopes of helping them follow her, but her father died in a re-education camp only six months later.  She settled with family of Father Cain in Arizona and, after studying business under a student visa but struggling with the English language, she transferred to Phoenix College to study Arts Education and later earned a bachelor's degree in Secondary Art Education from Arizona State University in 1975.  After a friend introduced her to Batik, a method of using wax to create patterns of color on textiles typically associated with block printed designs in Indonesia, she began exploring the medium to express the intricacy and diversity of the natural world. “I have a desire to paint nature, so I thought, how am I going to combine dye and silk and wax and landscape and seascape and nature? So I learned it by just doing it,” she recalls.  According to an article by Alan D. McNarie for Ke Ola magazine, "The results were unique: vivid, complex silk paintings whose detail rivaled those done in oil or pastels. And when Phan moved to Hawai‘i Island in 1983 with her first husband, she found the perfect landscape to go with her new technique...she founded a new school of painting."  After moving to Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, she continued to hone her craft to celebrate the flora of Hawaii but also to commemorate her  heritage and her family in Vietnam, expanding her explorations with paper and mixed media.  In the process, she developed advant garde methods of combining stitching, borrowing from Hawaiian quilting techniques, crochet, and other disciplines, even transforming flatwork into three-dimensional crafts, such as lampshades and sculptural objects.  She invented her own vocabulary of abstract imagery, representing purification and spiritual healing, evoking a journey of life and death and life again, and imagining the landscape of the soul.  A Poem for My Mother, created for the White Mourning Cloth Series, was chosen by the Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition Service.

"Jade Vine" batik painted on silk print by Phan Nguyen Barker, copyright 1986

Published by Multi-Arts, Inc., printed in Hawaii

Image Height: 18.5"

Image Width: 14"

Paper Height: 27"

Paper Width: 18.5"

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