At the LeRoy Neiman Center, from 2008-2009, Tomas Vu produced a serial body of work entitled Flatlands. Using layers of color and metallic silkscreen and laser engraved artist drawings burned into wood veneer paper, Vu juxtaposes the media of collage and screening to build fantastical scenes depicting cycles of destruction, decay and rebirth. The imagery extends the dialogue of nature's capacity for both violence and compassion. Flatlands as a series is formed into groups of ten unique prints in a single portfolio. It is also conceived of as a wall installation which can expand and contract to the dimensions of a given space. Each work is unique in the series and moves from light airy pieces built atop white grounds through silvery grey down onto a deeper black foundation. An overall installation of these works, on the grid, can either become a checkerboard effect of dark to light spaces within that grid or become a blend installation of works moving from dark to light.
My recent paintings and works on paper explore sites in which political narratives become entangled with religio-mythic and scientific versions of history and its ends. The work moves through visions of a world in which the crises of late capitalism and the historical drama of redemption are signaled by a traumatized physical environment.
Tomas Vu was born in Saigon, Vietnam and at the age of ten moved with his family to El Paso, Texas. Vu received a BFA from the University of Texas, El Paso in 1987 and went on to earn an MFA from Yale University in 1990. He currently lives and works in New York City. Vu has exhibited internationally and has had numerous exhibitions in China, Japan, Italy. His work was included in the notable exhibitions; "Orpheus Selection: In Search of Darkness" at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in NYC; "Boston High Tea: Master Print Series" at the Sunshine Museum in Songzhuang, China; and "Organische Absraction" at the Hack Museum in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Most recently the Flatlands project was installed in a one person exhibition at Sonoma State University, CA, Tomas Vu: New Work/New York , in March, 2012. He has received numerous awards including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Award and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship. Vu is currently faculty at the School of the Arts, Columbia University. He holds the LeRoy Neiman Professorship in Visual Arts and also currently serves as the Artistic Director of the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies. In his work, Vu's primary media are painting, printmaking and installation art. A powerful source for his imagery comes from his personal memories of growing up in Vietnam during the war. Vu creates ephemeral landscapes describing spaces where lines between imagination and memory become obscured.