“On April 30, 1975, the war was ended in Vietnam. It made a dramatic turn in my life. I was in my sophomore year of college majoring in architecture but the ‘Red Peace’ ended that. At that time there were only two schools. One taught Communism, the other was a Re-education Camp.
I refused to accept the reality of Communism. Six months later I attempted my first escape to find freedom, but instead I ended up in a Re-education Camp. I spent one year in there to supposedly get my brain washed, then they let me back in the city. After that I tried three more times. Finally my day had come. On September 29, 1978, I and my 38 companions reached the Freedom Soil after seven days on a small boat floating across the Gulf of Siam to Malaysia. Due to vast numbers of refugees at that time, I spent eight months in a refugee camp located on a deserted island outside of Kuala Lumpur.
The date was May 7, 1979, when I was reunited with my family in St. Louis, Missouri, after four of the longest years of my life. Now I reside in Maple Park, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago, where I designed and built a 1,500-square-foot studio next to the house.
From a heavy lot of timber to a light, thin vessel, negative spaces interlock with solid surface. The color, grain and natural look of the wood all reflect the principle of Yin and Yang. My work comes from memories, culture, Zen mind and my own thoughts. Negative spaces inspire me, as they represent the unseen weight of the unknown, which I use to take the viewers into my work.
The make-up artist does not only know the script of a play, but also feels the characters that the actor and actresses are portraying. The make-up artist’s goal is to express that feeling to the audience.
What do I do? I put a soul into every piece I create. I don’t make objects; I create characters. If the viewers can pick up on that soul, I’ve accomplished it. Creating figurative and abstract imagery on delicately pierced wood vessels opens the doors for me to share my life and interests. There was a period of time that I looked through the window and asked myself the question, ‘What is it like on the other side of that window?’ I then just let my imagination go.” (By Bihn Pho from AAGC Artist of the Month, September 2010)
Binh Pho in Permanent Collections
- Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC
- Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH
- Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue WA
- University of Michigan Fine Art Museum, Ann Arbor MI
- Museum of Art and Design, New York NY
- Long Beach Fine Art Museum, Long Beach CA
- Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile AL
- Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit MI
- Figge Museum of Art, Davenport IA
- White House Collection, Washington DC
- Wood Turning Center, Philadelphia, PA
- Arrowmont School of Art and Craft, Gatlinburg TN
- Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg PA
- Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte NC
- Fuller Craft Art Museum, Brockton MA
- Musee Art du bois – Breville, France
(Source: Wikipedia July 2016)