Mai Nguyen-Long — Artist of the Month – May 2017

Artist of the Month — Mai Nguyen-Long – May 2017

The art of Mai Nguyen-Long is unmissable

Mai Nguyen-Long — Artist of the Month – May 2017
 Mis/alignment, synthetic polymer paint on 44 canvas boards, 163x336cm, collection Wollongong Art Gallery

The distinctive artworks of Mai Nguyen-Long make her an artist that gets attention

Mai has just had an article on her Vietnamese residencies printed in issue 38 of Artist Profile.

While still a young woman, she has a long history of creating art

Her first exhibition was about 20 years ago. Mai's art education is also extensive. She currently studying to be a Doctor of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong.

Mai Nguyen-Long — Artist of the Month – May 2017
 Mai at her craft - In full colour (photo by Stuart Horstman)

To date, Mai has had about 50 solo and group exhibitions. This show her tenacity and commitment to her art. Also, she has committed herself to numerous community and artistic projects and created art and developed her knowledge over several residencies.

Mai Nguyen-Long — Artist of the Month – May 2017
 Vomit Girl - 25042016, pen on paper, 21x21cm

Working in a variety of styles and formats her artworks represent her unique view of communication through the arts. It's a diverse and mysterious world that Mai creates through her art. Her works are a puzzle of people, dreams with an artistic imagination like few others.

One of Mai's favourite artistic characters is the mongrel dog, or more accurately stated the mutt

Mai Nguyen-Long — Artist of the Month – May 2017
 Aqua Mutt swimming in Cyberspace (145cm high) exhibited on an acrylic mirror grid. Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre collection.

There are dozens of these paper mache creations, in all sizes, and they stand out - they are unmissable.
Mai Nguyen-Long — Artist of the Month – May 2017
 Many of Mai's mongrels showing off in this work titled Aqua Mutt: an Installation with Dag Girl — Photo by Joanne Saad. Courtesy of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.

The unique creations Mai puts out are what sets her apart in the art world. Sometimes this can a good thing and other times, she goes unnoticed. We all have our favourite artists, and that's because their art speaks to us on a personal level. It connects with us and gets under our skin, in a good way. Mai's works do this well. You can't forget them once you've seen them.

Mai creates her style of art because as she says,

"I’ve had a strong affinity for South-east Asian folk art and festival aesthetics from my early years. My papier-mâché objects were in part inspired by Paete, a town I frequently visited whilst living in the Philippines. My break-&-remake mongrel workshops reflected upon Vietnamese votive objects, as well as ideas of transformation. Is Vomit Girl about spiritual illness and cleansing? I make art in an effort squish my too many unproductive thoughts.  Or maybe to ask questions. But, perhaps I’ve been asking the wrong questions or finding the wrong answers. I think I’m always trying to work out where the blind spots are.  I’m working on it".

Where will Mai’s work appear next?

Mai’s work will be featured on city centre banners for up to a year in Wollongong (from April); she will be included in a major Wollongong Art Gallery collections show (1 July-25 March 2018); and Aqua Mutt will stand tall in the Kids Gallery of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (29 April-18 June); plus several paintings will be exhibited at Thienny Lee Gallery in a group show, Sydney (20July-8Aug).