Nicole Tran Va Bang is a multi-media artist with a very accesible, but maturely provocative style whose artwork begs for answers to questions that all of us ask. The umbrella topic? Beauty. It has been a fascination for artists since the dawn of time, but not all artists have live in a time when beauty has become such a fascination of all of society. We are pummelled with it from billboards, movie screens and, not least of all, mirrors. Tran Va Bang’s art dares to ask what it’s all about, how we get it, and, most of all, what it means.
The most common recurring image throughout Tran Va Bang’s work is the concept of “skin clothing,” a removable skin that allows her subjects to add, remove, or alter body parts as they wish. She uses this image again and again through photos, paintings, installations, and even video. As a twist, in some of her paintings, Tran Va Bang uses pop culture icons like Halle Berry and other models and advertisements as the bases for her paintings on magazine pages. It shows these idealistic body types as all being easily altered, as easily removable as clothing. The commentary behind her artwork is not lost on her audience. If you could change your entire body just by slipping on a piece of somebody else’s, would you do it?