Artist: Tony Nguyen
Media: Installations, Metal
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr Maxine Merlino Gallery
About Tony: Tony is currently a senior at CSULB and he’s been in school for 5 years. He is working on his BFA in the metal program. On his business card, he labels himself as a metalsmith. Tony was originally an illustration major but then discovered all the intense work and time needed to commit to that major. He then switched to metal work because it was what interested him the most. Tony has 4 brothers and he included them in this exhibition.
Formal Analysis: When you walked into the gallery, the first thing you see is a toy machine with mini toy capsules. Around the gallery there were pieces of metalwork. There was a common theme among these pieces of metal work and it seemed to be related to childhood. The metalpieces had intricate details on them. Some pieces included armory, male figurines, a necklace, and rings.
Content Analysis: The meaning behind this exhibition was to show how even as an adult, he still has that child side in him. Which isn’t a bad thing. The toy machine at the beginning of the gallery represents what his dad said about toys being better now than the old days. The necklace consisted of five bridges and they represented him and his brothers. He made one of the bridges a darker color and that symbolizes him because he considers himself the black sheep of the family. Each bridge had a detail on it that represented a brother. The figurines represent the different characters people put on everyday. He included angry Tony, business time Tony, and even astronaut Tony for the time he wanted to be one so long ago. There was one figurine that wasn’t metal but white. Tony explained how it signifies purity but it was sort of hidden because there really is no such thing as being completely pure.
My Experience: I thought the idea behind this gallery was interesting. I had never heard of the term neoteny before so it was interesting learning about it. I enjoyed walking through this gallery because Tony had succeeded in his mission, and that was to create a sense of nostalgia/childhood for viewers. When I saw the toy machine, I was reminded of my childhood. As a kid, I always loved seeing what I would get from them. I hardly see toy machines in places I go. Maybe it’s because I don’t visit the same places I did as a child because, well, I’m an “adult” now. It was also nice to hear how he incorporated small details about his personal life into these beautiful metal pieces and what they meant.