Kenny Nguyen

Artist Statement

"Migration has changed my perception of cultural identity and traditional art. I encountered with a new culture as an outsider and began to realize how much my identity was impacted through the adjustment process. The consequences of displacement and the ongoing conflict in everyday life have dominated my way of thinking and creating artwork. It also provided me a distant vision to look at the traditional art and culture through a microscopic level and discover many unknown territories. As much as I loved my cultural heritage, I made works that are not simply to celebrate my culture but to point out the experiences of being different, isolation and lost in an unfamiliar environment. As time goes on, those experiences are constantly changed and intertwined with each other to create a new cultural identity.

My paintings reflected a multicultural perspective, brought together the oriental undertone and abstraction. The challenge during the whole process of creating the artwork is making it visually attractive without losing a sense of its cultural specificity. My paintings also suggest the importance of intangible elements, the feeling of emptiness, alien-ness through patterns of absence and in-between spaces. They are struggling to reconnect with the whole composition. Beneath what we see on each of the painting surfaces, layers that are overlaid by another layer, parts that are destroyed and covered. As many of untold stories, they become invisible.

At the heart of my artwork, I believe, is the attempt to harmonize the contradiction between past and present, invisible and visible, East and West. My desire to use the power of visual language transcends national and cultural boundaries."

-Kenny Nguyen

Artist Bio

Quoctrung Kenny Nguyen was born and raised in South Vietnam. In 2007, he went to Vietnam National University of Art and Architecture for BFA in Fashion Design. In 2015, he earned a BFA degree in painting at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, United States. Nguyen’s artwork often draws on the elements of personal experiences to explore identity and
cultural displacement. Nguyen has exhibited his works in many group exhibitions and solo exhibitions in the U.S and aboard including Japan and South Korea. In 2016, Nguyen received an Excellence Award for his painting exhibited in Asia Contemporary Young Artist Award Exhibition at Sejong Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea. In 2017, Nguyen presented his paintings
along with other Vietnamese American artists at Rayburn Office House Building, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. In 2018, Nguyen’s Solo Exhibition titled ‘The Indescribable Fears’ was exhibited at Czong Institute for Contemporary Art Museum, South Korea. Kenny Nguyen lives and works in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Highlight Exhibitions in Museums and Universities: Sejong Museum of
Art (S.Korea), CICA Museum (S.Korea), LaGrange Art Museum (GA), Florida
State University Museum of Fine Art (FL), Brownsville Museum of Fine Art
(TX), Capitol Hill Building (D.C.) Katzen Art Center at the American University
(D.C.), UNCC (NC), Idaho State University (ID), Delaware State University
(DE), Adam Sate University (CO), Orange County Center for Contemporary
Art (CA) Awards, Grants and Fellowships: Charlotte Visual Artist Grant (2017,
Happenings CLT Mag), Regional Artist Project Grant (2019, ASC), Best artist
to watch (2018, Charlotte Mag), Artpop Charlotte (2017), Asia Contemporary
Young Artist Award (2017, Sejong Museum, S.Korea) Artist Residency Fellowships: (2018, 2019 Vermont Studio Center; 2018, Hambidge Center)