Week 4 – Artist Conversation #2 – May Ta

Exhibition Information

Artist: May Ta
Exhibition: Closer
Media: Digital media, Ink jet printer
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery
E-mail: maypta18@gmail.com
Website: In Progress
Instagram: maypta


May Ta is a soft-spoken artist pursuing a BFA in illustration here in our home school of CSU Long Beach. A California and Anaheim resident, she had immigrated to the United States from Vietnam, a country that has undergone much turmoil within the last few decades. Her family’s preferences in education, math and engineering, are much akin to other Asian families. No one in her family was an art major. This led to her family cutting support when she switches majors from engineering to art. It even led to her family mocking her for her decision. However, staying true to her calling, her family eventually opened up to the idea. In the end, she wants to make a difference in the world through her art and the themes that it portrays. Albeit, she claims that when she graduates, she will likely be working a 9-5 job unrelated to art. Maybe in the future she will still hold art close to her heard, but as of now she seems very unsure about that.

The exhibition was lined with several paintings by May Ta and her partner Carly Lake. With a quick glance, I seemed to notice that many of the paintings had very focal points and the setting seemed to characterize the paintings. What stuck out did not overpower the painting. The people on the side were not crucial, but they seemed to coexist with the nature found within the art. It made me envision a world without very many people, where life is peaceful. Although the landscape was not the only part of the paintings, you could not escape it. You could not escape the color white, the waves, the sun, and nature itself. But why would you want to escape? Everything in the landscape is relaxing. It’s much like a mental escape from all the stresses in the world so we want to be in the place of the people in the picture.

The Closer exhibition served to illustrate the theme of how we desire to be alone in the world. Our associations with others may either be a “hindrance” to us or help us to grow. We have families that we hold close to our hearts, but in the end we are all by ourselves. Many people fear and hate loneliness, but it is a kind of peace that we have to hold close to us and come into terms with. In Ta’s paintings, The Morning After, found below, and Estranger, posted above, carefully and powerfully employ this theme. In The Morning After, we see two people standing close to each other, enjoying themselves in the seemingly endless vastness of the picture. We see two people who are very close, which I further interpret as eternally bonded. The vastness represents that even with the bond between the two, they are still alone in the world. There is no turmoil brought on by being alone and in contrast they are enjoying themselves. In Estranger, there is a person travelling in the vast openness of the ocean. The thing keeping him company is the red sun in the distance. Once again, there is no chaos or desperation brought on by the emptiness. Instead, the painting resonates as peaceful by the absence of people.


Ta and Lake’s exhibition really resonates to me. Despite my meaningful relationship with friends, family, and my girlfriend, there are many times where I wish to be my myself or only with my significant other, much like The Morning After. Much like how Ta claimed that relationships either help or hinder us, I have to wisely choose friends depending on exactly that. There are people in the world who will easily take advantage of us. Some will force us into a downward spiral of failure, headaches, and hatred. Others will improve us every step of the way and hold us accountable. However, in the end we are alone. Your best friend won’t always be there to assist you. You may be alone with your significant other for some time, but remember what is found in wedding vows:”till death do us part.” Although we all have friends, family, and other meaningful relationships we don’t share minds with those people. We are all alone in the end and it is our duty to come into terms with that fact.



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