Michele King and Truong Tran

Illumination | The Poetics of Light

June 23 through August 24, 2018


Curated by Courtney Norris

Curator Courtney Norris: “Light and the act of illumination are central to the work of Illumination | The Poetics of Light. Michele King’s material and light studies examine interrelationships between our senses and surroundings in shaping belonging, place and cultural identity. They merge fictional and real spaces to form a symbolic journey towards home/self. Similarly, Troung Tran’s process of construction and layering explores proximity and distance: the use (or non-use) of light invites the viewer to come close, yet sometimes a perspective can only be achieved by taking a step back. He invokes the metaphor of light as a way of thinking through the conditions of our times. Both artists grapple with light as the means for revealing the multiple dimensions of their work, with the desire to illuminate the process of making these densely layered objects as they move towards an undetermined end.”

Michele King


Originally an avid sketcher of people, I began oil painting in the late 90’s and migrated to acrylic and mixed media including abstracted landscapes by 2005. I was compelled by the experimental process and also lived down the street from a hardware store where I spent a lot of time, often bringing home boards and new materials to test including house paint, spray paint and epoxy resin (at the time). Today, I have refined my process a great deal and primarily work with a variety of acrylic and water based products, including iridescent and translucent ingredients, as well as pencils and inks. I build my surfaces without brushes into multi-layered composites and work in series. Approaching my mixed media work as psychological landscapes, I intentionally create otherworldly spaces where it can be difficult to see where things begin and end. The play of light has become increasingly central as a tool for creating a personal experience for each viewer. I observe my work in changing daylight and artificial light conditions, eventually meshing the effects into a multidimensional surface. My scenes combine the real world (memories and images) with fictional source material– often the inner life of places and characters absorbed from books and film. My art provides a way to consider our interior sense of self in relation to the external world, and how individually constructed realities are shaped. My current body of work includes the series Studies of Sensing and Seeing, primarily created in 2017, and The Other World (Summerland), currently in progress.


 MICHELE KING michelekingstudio.com | michele.king@gmail.com 


2013, graduate studies, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland 

2011, Arts Collaboration Lab (summer), Columbia University School of the Arts, New York, NY 

1998, MPA, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA 

1988, BA, Virginia Tech, School of Architecture & Urban Planning, Blacksburg, VA 


2017 Making Neighborhood Selected Artist Grant/ Jiwar Artist-in-Residence, Barcelona, Spain (Oct-Dec) 

Art+Science Collaboration, Stanford Urban Resilience Lab, San Francisco, CA (pilot program, competition) 

2016 Jury Selection, ArtSpan Art in Neighborhoods, Daylighted at Phoenix Hotel, San Francisco, CA 

2014 Bay Area Video Coalition, professional development grant, San Francisco, CA 

2013 Center for Cultural Innovation, individual artist grant, San Francisco, CA 

2013 Jury Selection, Mission Open Studios Competition, Flax Exhibition, San Francisco, CA 

2012 Can Serrat, Artist-In-Residence, El Bruc, Spain 

2009 Red Cinder, Artist-in-Residence, Na’alehu, Hawaii 

2006 Jury Selection, Artspan Selections Exhibition, LIMN Gallery, San Francisco, CA (Meredith Tromble/San Francisco Art Institute, Rene de Guzman/Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Christine Duval/LIMN Gallery) 

2005 Red Ink Studios, Artist-in-Residence, San Francisco, CA (in residence 2 years) 

International Exchange/Exhibition, Paris France (invited by Le Genie de la Bastille, U.S. Embassy) 

2000 Jury Selection and Emerging Artist Award, 42nd San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA 

(Juror: Neil Kendricks, art critic and curator, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art & Union Tribune) 


2018 Jiwar Making Neighborhood Exhibition, Gràcia Plaça de la Vila, Barcelona, Spain 

2017 Stanford Urban Resilience Lab Exhibition, ELL Gallery, San Francisco, CA (collaboration) 

Collective Memory, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (collaboration) 

Animate Objects, Curated State Pop-Up Exhibition, San Francisco, CA (group show) 

Art for AIDS, Exhibition and Fundraiser, San Francisco, CA (juried) 

Familiar Distance, 123 Bolinas, Fairfax, CA (solo show) 

2016 Material Memory Archive Project, San Francisco Art Institute ACE, San Francisco, CA (multimedia) 

Altered Books|Marks, Adobe Backroom Gallery, San Francisco, CA (co-curator, hosted workshops) 

2015 Form + Substance, Curated State, San Francisco, CA (site responsive group show) 

Under the Moon, Avenue Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2-person show) 

2014 After Dark, SOMArts Ramp Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo show) 

2013 The Telephone Project, Satellite Collective, Brooklyn, NY (collaboration) 

2012 Can Serrat International Art & Music Festival, El Bruc Spain 

Know/How, Royal Nonesuch Gallery, Oakland, CA 

2011 The Magic Hour, Columbia University, New York, NY (installation/performance/collaboration) 

Angry at the Movies, PS 122, New York, NY (performance, directed by David Levine) 

Sleepless, The Fiction Project, Brooklyn Art Library, Brooklyn, NY 

Can’t Trace Time, Mina Dresden Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2-person show) 

MAPP Exhibition, Red Poppy Art House, San Francisco, CA (2-person show) 

2008 Fresh Women, Santa Clara University and Studio Gallery, Santa Clara, CA 

2007 Impromptu, Mina Dresden Gallery, San Francisco, CA (group show) 

2006 Lucid, SHS Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (solo show) 

Atmospherics, Alliance Francaise, San Francisco, CA (2-person show) 

10×10 Paris to San Francisco, Mina Dresden Gallery, San Francisco, CA (group show) 

Forgotten Mid-Market, California Modern Gallery, San Francisco, CA (juried group show) 

Concealed/Revealed, Space Gallery, San Francisco, CA (group show) 

2005 Illusions, Mission Cultural Center, San Francisco (performance) 

2004 The Moment Before, Public Glass Gallery, San Francisco, CA 

2003 Almost There, Urban Zendo, San Francisco, CA (solo show) 

Truong Tran


With all that is happening in the world and in this country, i find myself at a loss for words. i could try to offer you a flurry of language to guide your viewing this work. I just can’t do it at this hour or in this time. I do not know what to say and so I choose to do. i find myself working late into the night. My hands are moving. My eyes are looking. I am making art as a way of thinking. I am thinking towards a future when the light in these sculptures could again hold metaphor. For now, I am offering you this work. I am asking you to look as a way of thinking.

Visiting Assistant Professor, English Department, Mills College, Oakland, CA
Lecturer, Creative Writing Department, San Francisco State University, CA
M.F.A. San Francisco State University, 1995
Poetry with and emphasis on American poetics, writers of color, visual poetics
B.A. University of California at Santa Cruz
English with and emphasis on Creative Writing
Off  The Walls, Peninsula Museum of Art, Milbrae, CA 2018
Illuminations: The Poetics of Light, Avenue 12 Gallery, San Francisco CA 2018
Framed Targets at California Institute of Inetral Studies, San Francisco, CA 2015
I Meant To Say Please Pass The Sugar at Telegraph Hill Gallery, San Francisco CA 2014
At War: Two Person Show at SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco CA February 2012
The Lost And Found: Solo show at Mina Dresden Gallery, San Francisco CA February 2010
Art Market Art Fair, San Francisco CA 2018
Four Squared at the Arc Gallery, San Francisco CA 2013
re(Claim) Redux: Group Show at The San Francisco Foundation, 2011
Found: A GroupShow at Old Crow Gallery, Oakland 2011
re(CLAIM) Asian Pacific American Arts Festival Exhibition, San Francisco, 2010
The Whole Story 3 Exhibit at Intersection for The Arts, San Francisco, 2008
APAture: A Window on the art of Asian Pacific Americans, Space 180, San Francisco, 2007
Fetish: The Culture Of Fear & Desire, Kearny Street Workshop @ Space 180, San Francisco, 2007
The Whole Story 1 Exhibit at A. Muse Gallery, 614 Alabama St. San Francisco, 2006
Poetry and Its Arts: Bay Area Interactions 1954-2004, California Historical Society,       San Francisco, 2005
RED LOTUS, A Rare Look Into the Works of Contemporary Vietnamese-American Artists, City Gallery Chastain, Atlanta, 2001
The Book Of Perceptions Exhibit at Pacific Bridge Contemporary Southeast Asian Art Gallery, Oakland, 1999
Home, An Exploration of Vietnamese-American Art, Works Gallery, San Jose, 1994
Placate, Forthcoming 2017
I Meant To Say Please Pass The Sugar, Telegraph Hill Gallery, (Visual Poetics) 2014
Four Letter Words, Apogee Press, 2008
Within The Margins, Apogee Press, 2004
Going Home Coming Home, Children’s Books Press, 2003
Dust and Conscience, Apogee Press, 2002
Placing The Accents, Apogee Press, 1999
The Book of Perception, Kearny Street Workshop, 1999
Anthologies, Interviews, Special Projects
A Community Writing Itself: Conversations with Vanguard Writers of the Bay Area, 2010
Letters To Poets: Conversations about Poetics. Politics and Community, 2008
Watermark, Asian American Writers Workshop, New York, 1998
From Both Sides Now, Scribner Poetry, 1998
Not A War, Yale University Council on Southeast Asian Studies, 1997
Literary Journals
Foglifter Review, 2016, “from Speculative Notes”
Poetry Daily, 2016
Silk Roads Review, 2014, “From Placate”
Varcarme #64, 2013, France
Ambush Review,, 2012, “from Placate”
Parmentier, 2011, The Netherlands
Bombay Gin, 2009, “from four letter words”
Tinfish, 2007, “from the book of this”
Crate, 2007, “from the book of that”
Parthenon West, 2005, “from within the margin”
Lodestar Quarterly, 2005, “from within the margins” Manoa, University of Hawaii, 2002, “from the book of endings”  The Battery Review, San Francisco, 1999, “from the book of perceptions”
Five Fingers Review, San Francisco, 1998, “from The Book of Perceptions”
Coracle Review, Berkeley, 1998, “from The Book of Perceptions”
Psalm 151, New York City, 1997 “Lessons”
Lipstick 11, San Francisco, 1997, “from Crossings”
Coracle Review, Berkeley, 1997, “The Mistress”, “The Wake”
Fourteen Hills, San Francisco State University, 1996, “Lost And Found”
ACM (Another Chicago Magazine), Chicago, 1996, “Placing the Accents”
Zyzzyva, San Francisco, 1996, “Recipes” published as untitled
Reed, San Jose State University, 1994, “The 100th Day”
The American Voice #38, 1995 “Tongues”
The Blue Mesa Review, University of New Mexico at Albuquerque, 1995, “My Father’s     Story”
Poetry East, DePaul University, autumn 1995, “Recipe #5”
Prairie Schooner, University of Nebraska, winter 1995, “Rituals,” “Between Thumb And Index Finger,” “Seeds”
Crazyhorse #47, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 1994, “The Washing”, “No   Pictures   No Sins”
The Berkeley Poetry Review, University of CA at Berkeley, 1993, “Dates”
North Dakota Quarterly, University of North Dakota, summer 1993, “Scars” ONTHEBUS, Los Angeles, 1992, “Second Religion”
Individual Artist Grants (Literary Arts), San Francisco Arts Commission. 2016
Individual Artist Grants (Literary Arts), San Francisco Arts Commission. 2014
Individual Artist Grants (Literary Arts), San Francisco Arts Commission. 2012
Curatorial Commons Residency Recipient, 2011
Individual Artist Grants (Visual Arts), San Francisco Arts Commission. 2008
The Fund For Poetry Grant, 2007
San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grant (Literary Arts) 2007
San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grant (Literary Arts), 2003
Intersection for the Arts Writer In Residence, 2003
San Francisco Poetry Center Prize for Dust and Conscience 2002
San Francisco Library Laureate, 2000
Western States Book Prize Finalist in Poetry, 1999
Kiriyama Book Prize Finalist, 1998
Creative Work Fund Grant, 1997
California Arts Council Poetry Fellowship, 1997
Arts Council of Santa Clara Poetry Grant, 1996
Hood Recipient/ MFA Candidate in Creative Writing, 1995
Browning Society Prize in Poetry, 1994
San Francisco State Graduate Equity Fellowship 1993
Ina Coolbrith Prize in Poetry, 1992
NOTED READINGS/(partial list)
42nd International Poetry Festival in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Summer 2011
Center for literary Arts Reading Series at San Jose State University, Spring 2011
University of California at Berkeley, Lunch Poems Reading Series, Spring 2010
The Smithsonian Museum  of Modern Arts at Washington D.C., Spring 2010
University of Wisconsin at Madison, Winter 2010
De Young Museum Reading Series, San Francisco, Spring  2008
AWP Conference Reading, New York, Winter 2008
Harvard University, Cambridge, Spring 2007
Western Washington University Poetry Reading Series, Bellingham, Winter 2007
Colorado State University Reading Series, Colorado, Fall 2006
Beyond Baroque Reading Series, Los Angeles, Spring 2006
St. Marks Poetry Project, New York, Winter 2006
Katrina Hurricane Relief Reading San Francisco, Fall 2005
Huntington Beach Art Center Reading, Huntington Beach, August 2005
Sacramento State University Arts Festival Reading, Sacramento, Spring 2005
Small Press Traffic Lecture on The Physics of Poetry, San Francisco, Spring 2005
Poetry Center Reading, San Francisco, Spring 2004
Intimacy and Geography Asian American Poetry Conference, New York, Fall 2003
John Sims Cultural Center Reading Series, San Francisco, Fall 2002
Sonoma State University Reading Series, Sonoma, Winter 2002
Bridging Asia and Asian American Writing, University of San Francisco, Fall 2002 Petaluma Poetry Walk, Petaluma, Fall 2002
East Coast West Coast—A Gathering of Vietnamese American Writers, SFSU Asian American Studies Dept. Spring 2002
San Jose Museum of Art Reading Series sponsored by San Jose Center For Poetry, San Jose, Fall 2001
NYU in partnership with The Asian American Writer’s Workshop Reading, New York, spring 2001
Lone Mountain Reading Series, University of San Francisco, Fall 1999

Avenue 12 Gallery

1101 Lake Street at 12th Avenue

San Francisco CA 94118