New Duong exhibit inspired by change
June 23, 2015
Seven years ago, J GO Gallery owner Jude Grenney discovered multi-medium artist Denise Duong.
"I’ve been with Jude Since Obama became president," Duong giggled during a telephone interview with The Park Record from her studio in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. "I base everything around when he became president. Jude found me and contacted me. She’s so great."
On Friday, June 26, during the Park City Gallery Association Gallery Stroll, J GO Gallery, 408 Main St., will present a solo show by Duong. The opening reception will be from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
Duong is looking forward to showing her new works.
"I’m planning to have five to six large, substantial pieces and a handful of smaller works," she said. The big works run about three feet by three feet and the largest is three feet by four feet and the smaller works are 12 inches by 12 inches."
Duong created all of the pieces by using paint, paper and other materials within the past two months.
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"I don’t sleep much when I have a show," she said. "That’s how I can create a lot of works, because when I get it going, I just can’t stop."
Duong likes how the different mediums give her works depth through layers.
"I also do image transfers on the back and then I collage a lot of my work with drawings," she said. "Since I use a lot of paper, I have what I call an ugly finger because I use my scissors a lot. There’s a monster callus on my middle finger because of that."
For each show, Duong comes up with a theme.
"For some certain exhibits, I may have an interest in history or memoirs, so I’ll read a lot and dive into the personality and traits of some of the characters I read about," she said. "However, I’m mostly influenced by the things that are going on in my life. They are almost like a diary. People can see what is going on in different stages in my life.
"I used to feel very vulnerable and insecure about showing these works because they are vary personal," Duong said. "But since I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve gotten used to that feeling."
The theme for the J GO exhibit is change.
"It is probably one of the first shows that I have exposed the depth of change that I’ve experienced," she said. "I’ve traveled a lot lately and I’m getting out of a very long-term relationship. So it’s interesting for me to see the transition in my artwork into what I will show.
"I’m constantly changing," she said. "Everything is new for me, even though I have general themes. I love nature, birds and my dog, Devo."
One of Duong’s artistic trademarks is the depiction of vehicles — bicycles, cars, scooters and such.
"I use a lot of vehicles because I do travel a lot and I like the idea of adventure and how you get to the adventures," she said. "I like to show how you can be spontaneous and take life as it’s handed to you and just run with it."
Duong’s love for art came at an early age, and she’s had to stick with her convictions to become the artist she is today.
"Since I’m Asian, people told me every since I was little that I should be a doctor," she said and laughed. "I was like, ‘No. I’m going to be an artist.’ And they would go, ‘OK. We’ll let you think that for now.’
"As I got older, people would ask the same question and get the same answer, and they would say, ‘No. You should be a doctor or dentist,’" Duong said. "I would have to tell them, ‘Do you understand that I can’t be in an office building? If I had to do that from ‘9 to 5,’ I would end up dying."
Luckily, Duong’s high school teachers saw potential.
"They introduced me to many new materials and allowed me to explore," she said. "Then I got to college and took a lot of studio classes. I learned a lot of work ethic in those classes."
During this time, Duong took printmaking classes.
"I tried to come up with a mobile printing system because I like to move around," she said. "I have a nomadic problem, because I like to have my instruments compact so I’m not tied down or stuck in one place."
After all of these years, she’s still trying to come up with a more efficient system.
"I still have an enormous printer, so I have to still figure that part out," she said. "However, in the past three months, I’ve made my studio so compact that I can stick all of my stuff in my car and create anywhere."
That suits Duong fine because she has plans for July.
"It’s going to be all about road tripping across the country and making art," she said. "I’m grateful every day to do what I do, because I can’t imagine doing anything else. I can live off this and live life through it. There is nothing greater than this."
J GO Gallery, 408 Main St., will host an opening reception for artist Denise Duong during the Park City Gallery Association Gallery Stroll on Friday, June 26, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.jgogallery.com.