Fragmented Memories: Thomas Aung
January 2nd – March 17th, 2019
Artist and Union College junior Thomas Aung paints bold, vibrant portraits that exude thoughtfulness and reflection of both the subjects and their portraitist. Aung hails from Yangon, Myanmar, a city with a confluence of cultural, religious, and architectural heritages.
Aung’s paintings similarly reflect a somewhat discordant combination of brilliant hues and loose brushstrokes with somber and meditative poses and expressions. His backgrounds are full of texture, vibrancy, and sometimes include numbers and text. In some portraits, the background takes on life-like characteristics: covering a shoulder, masking an eye, conveying deeper connections between the artist and his subjects while creating more inscrutability and intrigue for the viewer.
In the words of the artist: “In a world where connecting with people is done virtually through phone screens, we gradually forget the importance of in-person relationships. This body of work aims to connect viewers with their own fragmented memories of the people that they are close with and to self-reflect on the importance of the relationships they created.
I am an aspiring artist from Yangon, Myanmar, studying Studio Fine Arts and Art History at Union College (Class of 2020). My artworks play with juxtaposing elements of realism and abstraction in order to evoke emotions. Most of my artworks explore emotions that everyone can relate to. My artistic journey was kindled by an appreciation for the old masters, who highly influenced me with realistic portraiture and the use of oil paint. My newfound passion for artworks by more contemporary artists, such as Jenny Saville, Gerhard Richter and Jean-Michel Basquiat, also helped me to incorporate bolder and more expressive brushstrokes into my paintings. After I graduate from Union College, I look forward to continuing my artistic endeavors by painting portraits to bring people together through the lens of emotions.”
– Thomas Aung