Do Minh Tam (b. 1963) also underwent a period when he keenly exploited the impact if thick layering techniques which brought him success in “the Fossilisation of Violence” (Synthesis of Techniques – 1996 – winner of the Phillip Morris prize). However, his artistic essence lies with purely abstract works in oil in the Abstract – Expressionist style. In the early stages of his career such as at his individual exhibition in 1993, his abstract works had highly concentrated lines, spreading all over the canvas, in the manner of J. Pollock. Later on, he found for himself a more airy method of expression, using large, strongly contrasting areas of colour where lines blur, are gathered into corners and gradually fade into colors. There is a very clear intention regarding compositional manipulation. In the linked series “Four Seasons” (Oil – 1995) (a favourite and often repeated theme of the artist), Tam reverses the composition and the colors of the four side – by – side panels to represent the clear “contrast” beween the various phases of nature. This technique is also employed in “Red Concerto” (Oil – 1998), a tri – panelled painting that is highly expressive, resembling a furious dance of the red – black – white shades.

Do Minh Tam may be regarded as representative of the Northern Abstract – Expressionism with his daring, sensory perception – based style, his exploitation of bursting whirls and glowing strokes, his use of strong colors to express dynamism and inspiration within a tightly thought out composition. His style also reflects, to a certain extent, the difference between the Northern abstract language, which is more about Expression – Dynamics and that of the South, which leans more towards Flat structure – passivity. This difference can partly be rationalised as a function of the influence of the geography and climate of each region on the psyche and emotions as well as on the aesthtics of their residents. The North has four clearly defined, constantly changing seasons, which are far harsher than the climate of the South. The Northern geography is littered with inaccessible mountainous areas, in direct contrast with the flat, open delta area settings of the South. Opinion has also been voiced that the Northern artists move towards dynamism to escape from their slow, stagnated living environment while the Southern artists seek a serene structure to satisfy their search for tranquillity and relaxation in order to escape from an industrialised urban environment.

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