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Duong reaches fantasy, realistic balance in JRB show

For The Oklahoman
Modified: November 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm •  Published: November 2, 2012

A good balance between flat, stylized, fantasy, collage and realistic elements, is found in acrylic, ink and paper works by Vietnamese-American artist Denise Duong at JRB Art at The Elms, 2810 N Walker.

Called “Hello, Goodbye,” the narrative show depicting a fictional couple during four periods contains scenes of them during the Dust Bowl, the French Resistance, the present, and leaving Vietnam for America.

A farmer steers two attached, darkly silhouetted agricultural vehicles in front of a pastoral scene and vintage ads for more efficient tractors in the Oklahoma City artist’s “You, Me and Abundance.”

Even more directly related to the Dust Bowl is Duong’s “The Strength of Life,” a collage of a banjo-picking farmer and his family, standing in front of a row of old windmills and ominous clouds of dirt.

A French man and woman “Opt for the Outdoors” by riding their bicycles to the country, packing picnic goodies, and their dog in a basket, oblivious to, or choosing to ignore, the World War II bombers overhead.

Other works show the couple in a car with a bike on top of it, still able to “Lose Ourselves” in each other, or portray a family, listening to the “Fruitful Banter” of an old-time radio in the kitchen.

Referring to Duong’s Vietnamese ancestry is the show’s title work, “Hello, Goodbye,” which depicts a family riding a boat past palm trees and green, terraced hills, perhaps leaving their native land behind.

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