Artistic works by Ann Phong grace the Muckenthaler Center

Elizabeth Hernandez

Phong’s art work will be exhibited at The Muckenthaler Cultural Center until Dec. 30. Admission is free for this event – donations welcomed. A gallery tour is scheduled for Dec. 6.

Originally from Vietnam, Phong immigrated to the U.S. in 1982. She received her Master of Fine Art degree from California State University Fullerton in 1995.

Through saturated colors, brushstrokes exemplifying motion and a slew of found objects carefully positioned, Phong’s concern for the condition of our earth and environment is heavily represented throughout her art.

The Muckenthaler gallery opening this exhibit draws in many art lovers eager to see what Phong has been working on for the last ten years.

“Older pieces were more personal. Now I’m driven by environmental issues.” Phong explained.

Environmental issues about pollution, oil spills and the abundance of trash everywhere inspire her work. Phong incorporates found objects, many that are considered trash, into a painting, bringing it to a third dimensional form.

Ann Phong - Fragile Nature 2017
Many pieces of Phong's art work incorporate found objects, some of which just may be trash. Photo credit: Elizabeth Hernandez

Those objects could be anything – soda cans, wiring, plastic or metal pieces, even the face of an old cell phone is utilized. Gallery attendees can observe such art pieces consisting of acrylic paint fused with many of those found objects.

Among all the panel and canvas pieces in this collection, there is one sculpture that stands out. It is titled “Human Traces on Earth” which Phong explains is a rendition of the planet overrun with modern life.

Ann Phong - Human's Traces on Earth
Ann Phong's sculpture "Human's Traces on Earth" depicts industry depleting the planet from all sides. Photo credit: Elizabeth Hernandez

Although sculptures are a new for feat for Phong, she explained a bit of the background behind it.

“I got a really big beach ball, once the paint dried the ball was deflated and removed.” said Phong.

The sizes of Phong’s art work vary. Some are several feet wide, but some are on a panel that is no more than about one square foot. Phong said she did those small pieces while waiting for the paint to dry on the larger ones.

Ann Phong - Feeling Free #2
One of several small pieces Phong created while waiting for paint to dry on larger works. Photo credit: Elizabeth Hernandez

Phong currently teaches art at Cal Poly Pomona. When asked what the most important advice she passes on to her students is, Phong expressed “Yes, we need money to live, but striving for your dreams means a lot more.”

Contact The Muchenthaler Cultural Center for more information at (714) 738-6595 or visit