Tuyet (Tess) Thi Ong-Barr is originally from Vietnam, and later Paris, France, now lives and works in Houston. Her abstract paintings on canvas and paper are colorful, energetic and bold. Her confident color choices and freedom of composition, as well as her interest in texture and layering stem from her numerous cultural experiences and backgrounds.
For Ms. Ong-Barr in the studio, bits of reality can stimulate an idea for a composition, whether it’s a quality in the sunlight of the day or bits of multi colored paint scraped from her pallet, each painting speaks with clarity. Her abstract compositions create dynamic movement; many layers of gestures create a network of lines traveling through an airy space. At times the numerous gestures seem closer to a natural form like the pattern of tree bark or lines describing the movement on the surface of water. Her experiments with texture and layering often create a sense of illusionary space, however sometimes the thickness of the paint sits on the surface of the painting, and wraps around the edges, insisting on the object of the canvas itself. Her painting media include oil, acrylic, collage, colored pencil, and colored ink, on a variety of surfaces: paper, canvas, and plywood.
Although Ms. Ong-Barr is fluent in English, Chinese, Vietnamese, and French, she desires to communicate non-verbally through painting, leaving permanent records of a time and place. The paintings reveal her interest in language and communication, displaying qualities of calligraphy within the paint, revealing to the viewer a hidden language of mark making.