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La Salle University Art Museum announces Howard Tran. Drawings and Sculpture exhibition

La Salle University Art Museum presents Howard Tran. Drawings and Sculpture, an exhibition on view September 19–November 29, 2012.

This exhibition primarily features Tran’s two-dimensional work. A sculptor by training, Tran also works extensively in two-dimensional media. For Tran, working on a flat surface offers a different way of approaching the art-making process. While his sculptures are always figurative, his drawings are more abstract. When Tran begins a sculpture, he already knows how it will look. It has all been planned and decided. Working with acrylic and ink on a flat surface, however, forces him to instead think fast as he works. For Tran, sculpture has a more direct relationship to the Earth; two-dimensional work is more “out there,” approaching the unknown. It is this quality of the unknown both in the process of making and in the subject-matter that the artist appreciates.

While his 3-D work is confined by representation, certain motifs in Tran’s drawings exert their own version of confinement as well. One repeating form is the bean shape, which also morphs into a barbell-like shape in some compositions. Although it changes size, color, and density throughout the series, the artist describes it as having “trouble becoming fluid.” In the 2-D work, as with sculpture, Tran is interested in texture. In the drawings, sanding imparts an almost encaustic-looking layering of color and form. Tran sometimes also glues or transfers Buddhist offering papers onto the surface adding an element of collage. In his larger-format drawings, Tran incorporates paper pulp, creating a raised surface that makes the work more like a hybrid of flat drawing and relief sculpture. For Tran there is a dichotomy between the calm of the paper pulp and the chaos of the paint. He states that the layering relates to past, present, and future. In his art, he negotiates issues of identity related to his Chinese-Vietnamese and Buddhist heritage and his experience as an American.

Tran is an Assistant Professor of Art at Lycoming College and exhibits nationally. He earned his MFA in sculpture from Boston University and BFA at the Sculpture Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA.

The La Salle University Art Museum is located on the lower level of Olney Hall on the campus of La Salle University at 19th St. and Olney Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Art Museum will also be open to the public from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturday, September 22, and October 20, 2012; from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 13, 2012; and from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on November 10, 2012. Admission is free, though donations are accepted. Please call to schedule group visits. Special tours can be arranged. For further information call 215.951.1221 or visit the website at

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