Ngo Van Sac
Ngo Van Sac is well known for his pyrography (wood burning) portraints. Creating by combining torching and controlled burning, historical Vietnamese logographic poetry and other contemporary painting and layering techniques, Ngo Van Sac’s portraits are a testament to a simplicity of materials that can be used to create fine art. Each piece starts from a block of fresh, untreated wood, where the patterns in the grain suggest the subject. Using a charcoal pencil, he sketches the outline of the portrait(s). He then uses a blowtorch to create features, some subtle, others detailed, which often include clothing, shadowing, decorative ornamentation and wrinkles. The eyes in his subjects are the window into their soul and are critically important in each composition. Painted features such as headwear, scarves and clothing are authentic and typical of the various minority and hill-tribe people represented in his work. In some cases, collages are highlighted within a larger portrait, suggesting a series of complex relationships. Very few of Ngo Van Sac’s pieces don’t have a pair of piercing eyes demanding a response from the audience, asking them to look into the story of his pieces, to wonder about the histories, the lives and the souls that are captured exquisitely in his portraiture.