Bao-Khang Luu

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Throughout my childhood my family used makeshift things . My father, a Vietnamese refugee rebuilding a life in the US, repaired and created stuff we needed. Only later in life did I begin to appreciate the perspective required to build and cherish ersatz objects. A design education full of creative material usage revealed to me the innate possibilities in everyday things. My work subtly confronts environmental and social issues.

My sculptures focus on consumption, the ersatz, and inherent beauty. Through reconfiguration and recontextualization of discarded materials. Interior design and home furnishings inspire my work. I employ two questions when choosing a material to use. What is the perceived value? How often is it discarded? I prefer material with the least value and usefulness. I treat the material as if it were gold. Through my process I imbue it with more value through my labour —gathering, cleaning, sorting, storing, and arranging.

In my latest series of paintings blown acrylic explodes in abstractions visually inspired by the waters of Ladys Cove in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Each painting has a single tiny lady crab (Ovalipes ocellatus) smaller than the nail on a pinky finger. Spurred by global trends of nationalism and regressive social views, the paintings explore ideas of perspective, our place in the wider world, and our realms of perception and influence.

My work deals formally with pattern and requires an enormous amount of repetitive manual labor. Production is almost meditative at times, but more often than not the physical demands are quite daunting. Each piece I create literally requires my blood, sweat, and tears, though I aim to surprise and delight my audience and help shift their perceptions of value.