The Journey Continues

Diane Farris Gallery, Vancouver
Throughout September

Darlene Nguyen-Ely, Journey #51: Slabaero, 1999
poplar, fibreglass, photocollage

Darlene Nguyen-Ely, an American sculptor, has taken the long route to where she is today: a Seattle artist whose work will join the Smithsonian Institute in the Year 2000.

Nguyen-Ely emigrated to the United States in 1975 as one of the thousands of homeless and traumatized "boat people" fleeing the Communist takeover of Vietnam. Without any knowledge of the English language or Western culture, she completed a BFA at California State University and has since worked steadily towards professional prominence.

In her second exhibit at the Diane Farris Gallery, viewers can see Nguyen-Ely's structuralist, vessel-like sculptures. They are created with hand-woven strips of wood, lattice and tiny nails. Their forms are reminiscent of curving baskets, or the fragile fragments of boat hulls. In her past work, these artifact-like constructions have contained photo-transfer images within their honeycombed chambers.

© Mia Johnson