Ann Le

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What Is My Work About?

Embodiment is a wallpaper rendition of a collective narrative, through the transmission of memory that is not my own, but my mother?s.  It refers to moments during her forced emigration and to iconic events that occurred during the Vietnam War. The wallpaper is my interpretation of those specific events.  A key investigative element of my work is the history and events leading up to my Americanization to answer questions of how, why, and when.  The processes of my lineage?s demystification lead to Embodiment?s explorative depiction of the cultural and political significance of the Vietnam War.  Wallpaper has a close affinity to the idea of ?home? with each digitally hand traced image using specific colors to evoke moments of diaspora.  I devised and created my own template and placed each traced image to create the wallpaper.

Artist Statement

I have focused on the investigation of my family roots, culture and its demystification. Vietnam’s history – particularly the war, and its aftermath unraveled, bearing an enormous spectacle for me to interpret and dissect. A key element of my work is the history and events leading up to my Americanization to answer questions of how, why, and when. Embodiment is a wallpaper rendition of a collective narrative through the transmission of memory that is not my own, but my mother’s. It refers to moments during her forced emigration and to iconic events that occurred during the Vietnam War. Playing on this idea of displacement, each digitally hand traced image in my wallpaper exhibit specific colors to evoke moments of diaspora. My five wallpaper pieces: Rorschach Technique, Mother Refuge, Re-Education Graduation, Cherry Bomb, and Falling Stars & Stripes create my Embodiment series and are depictions of my interpretations of events that unfolded during the Vietnam War, inspired from my parents and sister’s journey into the dark waters of Vietnam, to the refugee camps in Malaysia, their sponsorship to Canada and their final emancipation to San Diego California.

My wallpaper titled Rorschach Technique merges the shape of Vietnam into itself and then cradles the shape of the United States. The shapes of Malaysia and Canada mirror themselves like inkblots, but are also intertwined with Vietnam’s country flower; the cherry blossom. The Rorschach Technique is used to examine a subject’s personality characteristics, emotional functioning and perceptions, which inspired the visual impact of my wallpaper equally named Rorschach Technique. Inspired by the waves of boat people from 1978-1982 and my family’s treacherous voyage, my wallpaper Mother Refuge speaks about my mother’s miscarriage of my older brother while traveling by foot thru shallow waters along a mountainside of Northern Malaysia. The wallpaper Re-Education Graduation is a tribute to my father who was a part of the South Vietnamese Army (SVA) fighting along side with the American soldiers. The wallpaper Cherry Bomb is inspired by a story of the invasion of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) also known as Vietnam People’s Army (VPA). These soldiers took over my mother and grandparents’ small home in the city of Can Tho (three hours South of Saigon), taking up residence for a short period of time. The wallpaper Falling Stars & Stripes is based on the concept and metaphor of fear in dreams. The idea of this wallpaper stemmed from a portrait of my maternal Grandparents. My parents have been separated from all of their family in Vietnam, since their emigration in 1978. Some of our worst fears are of becoming separated from our loved ones; the act of never-ending free falling is a metaphor of fear for me.

My wallpaper significantly narrates my family’s traumatic decision to migrate in search of freedom and allowed me to immerse myself in the history of my native country.   It’s a backdrop that merges the identities of East and West, bonding cultural and political views of the war. By pulling collective memories together, I am transmitting another’s memory, and reconstructing my own projections. This act of revisiting my family’s journey has allowed me to recognize, appreciate and articulate the unexpected gifts that their migration to the U.S. has brought me. The wallpaper cannibalizes identity, digesting collective content, and is also a quiet gesture presenting art in a new form.

CV

EDUCATION
2012    MFA Photography, California State University, Long Beach, CA
2008    BFA Photography, California State University, Fullerton, CA

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2012    Embodiment, MFA Thesis, Dutzi Gallery, California State University, Long Beach, CA
2012    Embody and Echo, DBA 256 Gallery, Pomona, CA
2005    It’s a small world, University of North Carolina, NC
2005    Confession, University of North Carolina, NC

SELECT GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2014      Facts and Figures, Long Beach City College Art Gallery, Long Beach, CA                                                                                                                                   2014     εἶδος: That Which is Seen, Thomas P. Kelly Jr. Student Art Gallery, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA
2014     Crossing Borders, Gallery Gong, Seoul, South Korea

2014    Crossing Borders, Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura – IMAC, Tijuana, Mexico
2014     TOHYF, Encino Terrace, Encino, CA
2013     Sacred Memories: Honoring the Dead Across Cultures, Pico House Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2013     Wish You Were Here 12, A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2013     Gettin’ Off the Ground, Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, CA
2013     Crossing Borders, SOMArts Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2012     Crossing Borders, Emergent Art Space Juried online Exhibition
2012     B Social, Factory, Downtown Los Angeles, CA
2012     Alter/Altar, King Street Gallery, School of Art + Design at Montgomery College, Silver Springs, MD
2012     Consortium, Avenue 50 Studio, Highland Park, CA
2012     The X-Actobles, Bar Basic, San Diego, CA
2012     Mercy, Not Sacrifice IV, Syrup Loft, Los Angeles, CA
2012     Portraiture, ArtExchange, Long Beach, CA
2012     MFA Advancement, Gatov Gallery, CSU, Long Beach, CA
2012     Ventriloquists, Gatov Gallery West, CSU, Long Beach, CA
2011     MFA Open Studios, California State University, Long Beach, CA
2011     Lived Experience, The Huntington, Los Angeles, CA
2010     Photography & LA, Phantom Galleries, Long Beach, CA
2010     Collaborative, The Mezz, Los Angeles, CA
2010     Third Eye Vision, Bar Basic, San Diego, CA
2010     La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, Emerging Artist recipient, La Jolla, CA
2010     International Mail Art, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA
2010     MFA Open Studios, California State University, Long Beach, CA
2010     Object of Friction, Arty LA Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2010     Other, Werby Gallery, California State University, Long Beach, CA
2010     Introspect: Urban Art, Onyx Room, San Diego, CA
2010     Life and Dignity, Fernando’s Hideaway, Los Angeles, CA
2008     Family and Fiction, Progressive Gallery, Pomona, CA
2008     Before/After, California State University, Fullerton, CA
2007     Attachment, Art for Health, CSU, Fullerton, CA
2007     Skin Deep, East Gallery, California State University, Fullerton, CA
2006     Cross Process Concepts, Apogee, San Diego, CA
AWARDS / GRANTS / ARTIST RESIDENCIES
2015     Creative Aging (Cycle IV), Theatre of Hearts, Los Angeles, CA Jan-Apr
2014     Creative Aging (Cycle III), Theatre of Hearts, Los Angeles, CA Sept-Dec
2014     Creative Aging (Cycle II), Theatre of Hearts, Los Angeles, CA July-Aug
2014     Creative Aging (Cycle I), Theatre of Hearts, Los Angeles, CA Feb-May
2012     First Place Winner, Crossing Borders, Emergent Art Space Juried Exhibition
2010     Emerging Artist Award, LJAWF
TEACHING EXPERIENCE
Long Beach Community College, Long Beach, CA / Fall 2014
Adjunct Photography Instructor (Elements of Photography)Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA / Spring 2014 – Present
Adjunct Digital Media Professor  (Computer Graphics I)

Art Institute of California, Los Angeles, CA / Summer 2013 – Present
Adjunct Photography Professor (Photographic Post Production, Adv. Photographic Post Production, Large Format & View Camera Theory, Portraiture, Portfolio I, Digital Image Management)

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA / Fall 2009 – Fall 2012
Teaching / Studio Assistant for Michael Brodsky (Computer Graphics I, Digital Photography)

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA / Spring 2012 – Fall 2012
Teaching / Studio Assistant for Saeri Cho-Dobson (Computer Graphics I, Experimental Typography, & Professional Practice Graphic Design)

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA / Spring 2012
Teaching / Studio Assistant for Dmitry Kmelnitsky (Computer Graphics I)

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA / Fall 2011
Teaching / Studio Assistant for Diane Meyer (Special Studies Bookmaking & Photography, Photography I, & Photography II)

California State University, Long Beach, CA / Spring 2011
Teaching Internship with Rebecca Sittler-Shrock (Color Photography)

WORKSHOPS
Executive & Business Portraiture: Digital Photography Workshop, Art Institute of Los Angeles, CA / Nov 8, 2014                                                                                                         Ai Summer Break Series: Photography & Fashion Styling, Art Institute of Los Angeles, CA / July 8, 2014
Ai Summer Studio: Digital Photography, Art Institute of Los Angeles, CA / June 23 – June 26, 2014
AiAfter Dark: Selfies, #AiAfterDark, Art Institute of Los Angeles, CA / April 27, 2014
Portfolio Success: Digital Photography, Senior Saturday, Art Institute of Los Angeles, CA / Mar 29, 2014
The Business of Photography: Digital Photography, Senior Saturday, Art Institute of Los Angeles, CA / Nov 23, 2013
Lighting Techniques: Digital Photography, Senior Saturday, Art Institute of Los Angeles, CA / Oct 26, 2013
Fundamentals & Foundation: Digital Photography, Senior Saturday, Art Institute of Los Angeles, CA / Sept 14, 2013

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS
Asian and Pacific Islander American Cultural Guide, Los Angeles, CA / 2008 – Present
CITY works, San Diego, CA / 2006
SOTAC Magazine, Charlotte, NC / 2005

SKILLS
Traditional Color / Black and White Darkroom printing and processing, 35mm, 120, 4×5 film scanning, 35mm SLR, Medium format (Hasselblad, Bronica, Mamiya), Large format (Calumet, Toyo, Cambo), Mamiya Credo digital and DSLR cameras.  Profoto strobes, pocket wizards, portable battery packs (on location shoots), hot lights, Studio photography.  Epson and HP output/printing, color correction.  Capture One Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Bridge, Lightroom