Baby on Belly

Abstract

My work is inspired by the intricacies of family life and of familial relationships. In my painting, I gravitate irresistibly toward representing the domestic, in particular the lives of mother and children. My paintings use the human figure to express the vulnerability of motherhood and my own obsession not only with the dilemma of raising boys in a violently media-driven culture, but in its midst, caring for a son with a fatal genetic disease.

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Nguyen, S., (2013) “Baby on Belly”, Studies in the Maternal 5(1), p.1. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/sim.127

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My work is inspired by the intricacies of family life and of familial relationships. In my painting, I gravitate irresistibly toward representing the domestic, in particular the lives of mother and children. My paintings use the human figure to express the vulnerability of motherhood and my own obsession not only with the dilemma of raising boys in a violently media-driven culture, but in its midst, caring for a son with a fatal genetic disease.

My method of painting involves acts of creation, destruction, and reconstruction. I start by rendering a realistic image of my subject and then slowly dissolve the image, using linseed oil and turpentine, relinquishing control and giving way to the abstract. I then rebuild the form, repainting or drawing in with dry media certain areas to reach an ideal balance of the real and the imagined. To give parts of the canvas a three dimensional aspect, I let the oil collect and dry, pushing the pigments away from the canvas.

The process of allowing forces such as gravity, chemical interaction, and random chance to take over the painting temporarily mirrors the lack of control mothers have over the ultimate fates of their children, and the subsequent anxiety that we experience. My paintings honor the conflicted lives of mothers, and the mode of uncertainty and doubt in which we often live by necessity.

Sarah Nguyen 'Baby on Belly'

Sarah Nguyen Baby on Belly 2010 oil on canvas 24" H x 18" W

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Sarah Nguyen

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