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Process diary

Huu Nghia Joey Nguyen

James Ruse Agricultural High School

Artwork title
The expulsion
HSC year
Expressive form
Artist’s statement

My dad hoards scrap metal. There is little beauty within the useless clutter, yet it is a tolerable counter to the errant waste of consumerism. My work is a contemplation of the dichotomy of this existence. Humans are technological creatures, but can we be reconciled with the natural environment? The reuse of waste, from discarded refrigerator parts to ashes, creates awkward 'machines’. I responded to materials on an aesthetic and intellectual basis, demanding both creative awareness and technical reasoning, almost an allegory of human evolution.

So, are spirituality and logic mutually exclusive?

The work is not didactic, but speculative.

Collection connections

Joey Nguyen’s artwork is composed of found objects and appropriated images. He raises issues of wastage, consumerism and the relationship between nature, man and machine in our society. Robert Klippel and Richard Hamilton, like Nguyen, have used similar strategies. Observe artworks by these artists and make a list of the materials used and their origins. Consider how aspects of nature, man and the machine have been suggested simultaneously. Debate how these artists have represented everyday objects as extraordinary things and utilised images out of their original context.

Research dada and surrealist art practices. Propose if an artist’s labour resides with the hands or with the mind. Are they makers of images/objects or makers of meaning? Research a variety of artists and use examples of their work to support your case. Suggest how Klippel, Hamilton and Nguyen have been influenced by dada and surrealism and yet have also responded to their contemporary worlds.

Read Nguyen’s artist statement. Assess if the meaning of his work is dependent on the materials used or how an audience interprets them. Consider what you think audiences value more: the material or the conceptual nature of an artwork. Observe people viewing artworks in a gallery, interview them and draw some conclusions.