Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Liggett artist series begins

September 20, 2012

Artist Lan Huong Reilly considers herself a neo-impressionist.

“I embrace classic principles and techniques in my composition, yet I incorporate my interpretation and feelings through colors, forms and shapes,” the mother of three said in her artist’s statement. She is University Liggett School’s featured artist; her exhibit, “Annam Dreams,” opening the school’s 2012-2013 art gallery series hosted in the Manoogian Arts wing.

A watercolorist, Reilly’s art reflects the interesting scenery, flowers, animals and people she captures in photos. Typically, she said, she selects a photo from her collection that complements whatever her thematic focus is at the time.

“I use the photo mostly for subject reference, focusing my creative efforts on overall composition and background, paying special attention to the forms, colors, and movements that define my subject and most complement it,” said Reilly, whose passion for art started as a child.

Born during wartime in Saigon, Vietnam, Reilly said she inherited a love for visual arts from her parents, who incorporated elements of imagination into dealing with violence of the war in an attempt to maintain a sense of innocence and normalcy in their children’s upbringing.

Her father used sketches of battle scenes to entertain her brother while her mother helped Reilly and her sister escape the harsh realities of war by crafting origami-like paper dolls and dressing them in paper attire.

Despite her parents’ efforts, the war still took a psychological toll on Reilly.

“As a child forced to witness mankind at its cruelest well before possessing the mental faculties to comprehend, or even process such brutality, I was denied the innocence of a normal childhood,” Reilly said. “I see now, the psychological void this produced led me to embrace the arts, and to revel in my ability to create beauty amidst destruction.

“The arts liberated and empowered me like never before, but most importantly, provided me a form of self-administered therapy that grew into a love and appreciation for both art and the creative process.”

The gallery opened Friday, Sept. 14, and runs through Friday, Sept. 28. Visiting hours are during school operations Monday to Friday.