Canadian painter opens new horizons | 22.08.2006 | Bach Lien

Vietnam News

Rene Lemay loves Viet Nam, and he’s not afraid to show it.

Happy Days in Viet Nam, which opened at the Viet Fine Arts Gallery last Friday, is the Canadian’s first solo exhibit in Viet Nam which promises to put audiences in touch with his feelings and emotions about Asia through 24 vibrant compositions.

"I want to bring something new here with my contemporary paintings to share my special feeling about Viet Nam and also to remember my joyous stay here over the last years. Your country is unique with its fine art and landscapes, and it can open new horizons for artists who come from the exterior," he says.

Lemay arrived in Viet Nam to study lacquer techniques at the Ha Noi Fine Arts College from 1999 to 2002. Since then, the artist has returned to the capital for inspiration. He again returned this year, this time with the acrylics on oil he made in 2004-06.

"Through his elaborate style and the impromptu variations of his brush stroke, the contrast of primary colours in the artist’s hand willy-nilly softens to please the eye with warm feelings," said Vietnamese painter Luong Xuan Doan.

The images at the exhibit vary greatly and are drawn from everyday life: musicians, horses, roosters and children that all seem to float in a space very much alive with colour.

"I really enjoyed his rendition of the Vietnamese woman. He made us all so elegant, with hidden smiles," said one visitor.

"At 72, his soul is like the soul of a child: always surprised when looking at the world. He has a deep attachment to the mysterious world of the Orient. Tam Bac Canal, which is so familiar to Vietnamese artists, is still very original in Lemay’s painting," said Doan.

Encouraged by his mother to paint without formal guidance at an early age, he is an artist who has consistently followed his own path. Born in Montreal in 1934, he gained recognition in the Quebec art scene early in his career. Today, his works are on permanent display in renowned galleries worldwide.

The exhibit will run until September 18 at Viet Fine Arts Gallery, 96 Hang Trong Street, Ha Noi. — VNS