Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
This is Tony Nguyen’s last semester at Cal State Long Beach. He has graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in the Metal Program. Tony is a future professor and very articulate man. He wishes to pursue a Master’s degree but for now will be taking a year or so off.
Tony Nguyen’s exhibition Neoteny is full of intricate and captivating metal pieces. He has a mailbox and a toy dispenser. There is also a crown and hand armor. An interesting piece is the chest of a mannequin with a necklace and multiple, small figurines. All the pieces have a smooth surface and crafted of metal.
Neoteny according to Tony means when an individual who maintains juvenile features into adulthood. This definition is the core of his exhibition. He has crafted these metal pieces from his childhood memories. For example the crown which he calls Monkey Crane Crown was inspired by one of his favorite tv shows as a child. Although an adult now, Tony refuses to leave behind part of his childhood as it is an important part him and his art.
I enjoyed Tony Nguyen’s exhibition Neoteny. I liked the fact every piece had a story to go along with it and Tony was willing to tell you it as long as you wanted to hear it. He said just ask and I will tell you the story of any piece. These stories go along well with the theme of his installation, kids love to hear stories. It is easy to connect with his pieces and trigger your own childhood memories for example, the toy dispenser. When I went to the laundry with my mom as a kid, I always asked for a quarter to get a toy or candy from the dispensers. Tony does a great job in triggering simple yet precious childhood memories of his own and of his audience.