The images of Ann Phong sensuously draw us up to their tactile surfaces with which we are able to immerse ourselves in their guiding brushwork and feel at our most human at these complicated sites detailing the memory and imagination of a woman's courageous journey from East to West and her search to reconcile all that has passed. What we see are traces of the past - a river boat, dangerous waters, limbs and figures - slide into a fragmented present to which there are often no easy or even satisfying answers.
Phong conveys her thoughts through superimposing images on top of one another. This technique highlights the fragmentary nature of Phong's overall aesthetic; a dislocation between fact and memory and their dynamics. In her early works, Phong's use of fragmented limbs within her compositions revealed an artist deeply ambivalent toward the possibility of a complete self in society, yet found power in the images of body fragments she pieced together in paintings to express loss. In later works, Phong has perhaps found that bridge as her work has taken on a gracious involvement with ritual and the environment. This has been a stunning development for an artist who lived through war-ravaged Saigon, escaped the communist regime of the North Vietnamese after previous failed attempts, enduring a dangerous, four-night journey across the South China sea by fishing boat, and after years of being a refugee in Malaysia and the Philippines was finally able to relocate to the United States, where she began the process of confronting her stark reality through painting.
Phong currently teaches art at California State University Pomona. She has lectured extensively on the subject of her work and those of other Vietnamese artists.
At a crossroads of photography and its technical as well as functional aspects, we enter the project of Lori Lipsman, an artist involved with the processes of constructing images and revealing through collusions of natural and man-made subjects, the contradictory nature of the photographic surface as well as our pleasure into the unknown. In the artist's digital prints, Lipsman incorporates a variety of wild plants punctuated with digitally-altered circular shapes floating about in nearly all of the works, a device that Lipsman physically places upon the plants but flattens digitally, conflating what is captured and what is placed into her pictures, delivering fantastic images that draw upon our ability to become aware of ourselves in the process of exploring fact and fiction.
Lipsman received her MFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco and currently lives in San Diego, where she states, affords her the ability to be in close proximity to nature, which serves as a source of inspiration for her creative work.