Time and Time Again – A Retrospective Show of Works by Trinh Mai

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From December 1st through December 31st, 2012, The District Art Gallery is pleased to present its first solo exhibition, “Time and Time Again: A Retrospective Show of Works by Trinh Mai”, an extensive survey of works created from 2003 to present day.

The show takes a look at how Mai’s work has evolved, beginning from her time at San Jose State University. While under the instruction of her beloved mentors Gale Antokal, Robert Chiarito, Rupert Garcia, Tony May, Patrick Surgalski, and Stan Welsh, Mai gained the perspectives which inspired her to full-heartedly dedicate her life to art as she worked closely with these respected artists. The exhibition will include representative examples from the most significant bodies of work she has created over the past decade.


Trinh Mai has produced a diverse collection of work, including large-scale abstract oil paintings and small-scale figurative works. Her early works of bold abstractions recall a time when she had been searching for answers to her questions regarding faith and spirituality, while her later works seek a deeper understanding of her family history and their role in who, where and what she is today.

In 2010, she began making portraits of family members as the subjects of Family Tree(2011). In many of the works from this period, she incorporates joss paper, which although is intended to be burned in prayer for the ancestors in Buddhist tradition, Mai prints the photos upon the joss paper with the intention to preserve the family history.

Through traditional imagery and symbolism, her current work seeks to clarify the connection she has to her ancestors. As a Vietnamese American from the 1.5 generation, art has become the valuable tool that has allowed her to live the immigrant experience vicariously through the elders, allowing her to interpret the experience through her own ears, eyes and hands. She aims to gain a deeper understanding of both the joys and the hardships experienced through these stories, and expresses them in her works as a reminder that out of tragedy is ever born the blessings that we might have never been able to predict could or would ever come.

The symbolism and subtle details presented in her work encourage the viewer to take time to perhaps recognize the details which may go unnoticed otherwise.

This retrospective celebrates Mai’s documentation of life experiences through her art.


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