BLOOM: KIEU TRAN – LOCAL LANGUAGE
September 11 @ 1:00 pm - October 30 @ 5:00 pmFree
Local Language is pleased to present BLOOM, a new exhibition by Artist in Residence Kieu Tran.
BLOOM is an exploration of human transformation and growth; a reminder of how we are all continually growing even when we don’t feel like we are blooming. The concept for this show grew out of Kieu’s recent decision to quit her financially secure tech job in January 2021 to become a full-time artist. It’s the second time that she has drastically changed her career to break in male dominated fields that lack BIPOC representation. She believes this will be a very relatable theme for many people who may be grappling with the same desire and fear of changing their lives. While the body of work in this show is extremely personal, they convey universal struggles and emotions. Given her experience as an immigrant and woman of color, there is also an inescapable undercurrent of emotion about the cultural and societal expectations she has had to overcome to finally pursue her true passion.
Clay captivates Kieu because it also needs to undergo a lot of transformation to arrive at its final form, which speaks to our human experience. It’s the perfect material to tell this narrative because it is a material that follows the soul. Kieu created a collection of sensuous biomorphic ceramic sculptures that attempt to convey all of the emotions that she felt throughout her most recent transformation: stagnancy, fear, discomfort, alignment, and extreme fulfillment. She also explored new materials and ways of working during her residency at Local Language. She translated her forms into 2D CNC cut wood relief “paintings” and freestanding wood sculptures while attempting to inject the same emotional resonance in them. Kieu wanted to create an emotional landscape of sculptures and 2D work that narrate the discomfort of growth, but also remind people of their own strength, and encourage them to keep striving for what they truly want despite self doubt, invisible barriers and glass ceilings.
Kieu Tran is a first generation Vietnamese American artist based in Oakland, California. She creates elegant, sensuous, biomorphic ceramic sculptures that exist somewhere between the abstract and figurative. Kieu strives to give expression to emotion, to allow the aesthetic of the form to tell you something about the inspiration behind the piece on a wordless, instinctual level. She considers her sculptures to be an effort to give form to the human soul and to remind us of our shared humanity.
Kieu obtained a bachelor’s degree in art history from UCLA in 2012 and has also studied art history while living in Italy and Germany, but was not making any art herself. Intrigued by Silicon Valley, she learned to code in 2014 and quickly became a software engineer within the year. She also developed a serious ceramic art practice around the same time alongside her tech career and eventually realized that she was always meant to be an artist. Kieu doesn’t have formal art training, but a lack of formal training didn’t stop her from breaking into tech either. No stranger to challenges and drastically changing her life, she officially quit tech in January of 2021 to pursue her passion of becoming a full time artist. Despite having only gone full-time at the beginning of 2021, her ceramic sculptures have since been received with excitement and she has cultivated a growing following of enthusiastic collectors.
An Artist Talk will be held at 3pm on Saturday, September 11. The exhibition will be open to the public between 1-5pm on Saturdays.