Nhi Vo: : Wind Fellow 2021

With an artistic practice that is highly disciplined and structured, Vo’s contemplative work evokes themes of routine, utility, and labor.

One of our Wind Fellow recipients, Nhi Vo has explored various mediums, including video, reed sculpture, and most recently, drawings on graph mylar, bringing a distinctive sensibility and attentiveness to all her projects. In her later works, Vo has transformed the repetition of a single word into conglomerate images, forming mesmerizing, undulating patterns from her own handwritten script.

Kevin Sun: What made you decide to get into art?

Nhi Vo: There’s no specific reason. I enjoy working and I like the constant challenge… Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s hard.

K.S.: It’s clear that your work is highly disciplined and labor intensive. What interests you about this “laborious repetition,” as you call it?

N.V.: Maybe “laborious” is an exaggeration… People rarely perform an act only once. It’s the day to day and fitting one routine into another routine that I enjoy. I like boredom, but active boredom.

K.S.: Your work conveys an “image of obsession,” of repetitive actions performed ad nauseum, or perhaps an experience of meditative focus. Could you describe your state of mind while working on one of your pieces?

N.V.: I’m rarely in [a] meditative state when I work on one of my pieces. I think about the next piece, what to make for dinner, how many dots I can make in one sitting, [what] my cats are thinking about, so on and on. Maybe that is meditation?

Stand and Sideway, 2018, reed, walnut, and metal

K.S.: Your reed sculpture work evokes utilitarian purpose, with shapes and designs that are “extensions of the familiar,” yet are unable to be discretely identified. What drew you to this medium and what do you hope to convey?

N.V.: I like functional things and I want to make functional objects, but I haven’t settled on an idea yet. Reed and weaving, especially weaving, are embedded in common day objects and [have been in] practice for many, many years, in many [cultures].

K.S.: Your Incognitocognito series transforms the repetition of a written word into drawings. How do you conceptualize the persistence, or lack thereof, of the word’s meaning through this transformation?

N.V.:

Meet me in Cognito, baby.

Incognitocognito, 2020, graphite on graph mylar

In Cognito we’ll have nothing to hide.

Let’s go incognito, honey,

And let the world believe that we’ve died.

– Tom Robbins

To learn more about Nhi Vo as well as her work and her upcoming events, please visit her InLiquid Artist’s page and her website.

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