In Duy Huynh's poetic and contemplative paintings the artist has developed a vocabulary of symbolism with recurring images that relate to physical or spiritual travel. Born in Vietnam, themes of geographical and cultural displacement are prevalent in Huynh’s artwork. Ethereal characters maintain a serene but precarious balance, in a surreal or dreamlike setting. He attempts to literally and symbolically connect the fluid patterns in nature with that of human made aspirations. His goal is to nurture a visual language that evokes a sense of wonderment while celebrating the fragile nature of life.
Duy Huynh came to the United States with his family as refugees in 1981. Described as "boat people", this epithet remains in the artist's consciousness and is sometime directly referred to within his imagery. Despite the challenges of assimilation and an enduring sense of displacement, growing up in southern California proved to be transformative. Here he was introduced to art through murals, graffiti, comic books and animation.
Duy studied illustration a University of North Carolina, and fell in love with painting. Following graduation, he pursued a career as a fine artist, and quickly became a full-time artist showing in several galleries around the country. He has explored a variety of avenues and applications for painting, including public murals and painting live on stage in collaborating with writers and musicians. He explains that, “it’s important to me that my work is accessible and far-reaching.” Artist Statement
As someone whose first language was not English, I have long been fascinated with the multi-layered ambiguities and nuances of certain words and phrases. As a visual artist, I enjoy taking things too literal, using the language of symbols and metaphors in conjunction with puns and hybrid words to add yet another layer of mystery to the narrative. Images that often reoccur in my paintings, such as moths/butterflies, boats, trains, musical instruments, flowers, trees, umbrellas, etc. have become a personal vocabulary used in deliberate combinations to hopefully evoke introspection and a sense of wonderment.
At the core of my work is a search for balance and continuity, usually between two or more mysteries. The characters I create often float (literally) somewhere between science and spirituality, memory and mythology, structure and spontaneity, ephemeral and eternal, humorous and profound, connectivity and non-attachment. The intent isn’t necessarily to provide enlightenment, but to celebrate the quest itself.