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Tam Van Tran at Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara

Beginning in November, 2015, Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) presents a solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based mixed media artist Tam Van Tran.

The latest iteration of Bloom Projects, which will go on view the same day, debuts a newly commissioned site-specific installation by Brooklyn-based artist Michael DeLucia, whose work addresses the condition of sculpture and spatial relationships in the technological age.

An opening reception for both exhibits will be held from 6–8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. They will be on view from Nov. 15, 2015 to Feb. 21, 2016.

Tam Van Tran, "Aikido Dream"

Since the early 1990s, Tam Van Tran, who lives and works in Los Angeles, has been producing an impressive body of work comprising abstract paintings, mixed-media collages, ceramic tiles and sculpture.

By mixing traditional art materials such as linen and acrylic with unconventionally applied organic substances (including spirulina, chloroform, wood, staples and aluminum foil), Tran creates colorful and highly textural works that formally and thematically syncretize Eastern and Western influences.

Tran's intricate techniques extend the field of painting while incorporating imagery and materials laden with references to his native Vietnam, his adopted home of Los Angeles, spiritual concepts and myriad other cultural references.

Tran's solo exhibition at MCASB, titled "Aikido Dream," which features a selection of approximately 20 works from the 2000s to the present, serves as a vehicle for understanding the nature of the artistic process rather than presenting a chronological or mid-career retrospective.

Aikido, often translated as "the way of unifying (with) life energy" or "the way of harmonious spirit," represents a synthesis of physical and philosophical beliefs.

Aikido Dream" also reflects Tran's interest in meditation, our environment and his belief in intuition and transience, realms in which nothing is fixed and everything is in motion.

This exhibition offers a nuanced platform to understand his artistic trajectory, providing a framework that fosters an investigation of his long-standing, iterative interests in religious thought (particularly the Buddhist idea of non-duality) and pop culture, as well as natural processes and transitions.

In this spirit of ethnic and processual diversity, even Tran's titles are delightfully unexpected cultural fusions, evoking both indie song phrases and meditative koans.

By Rebecca Klapper

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