No frills, few thrills
An understated, very subjective look at life
Making innovative use of material, Somphot Mailarksee always works in either brass or wood, his flat tableaux contained within wooden frames. A mixed-media piece entitled Journeyhints at the presence of an entire elephant _ segments of a pachyderm's body are contained within three separate frames. The intricate detail in Somphot's work is most obvious in the largest of the three which shows the smooth curvature of the animal's stomach. The use of brass heightens the curves, wrinkles and lines of the stomach making it look immensely heavy, especially when viewed under the gallery lighting which creates an almost glistening effect. The slender, centre frame shows us only the tail, while the tip of the elephant's trunk is featured in the right-hand-side frame which is only a little broader than the centrepiece.
Another series of works from the same artist comprises large pieces of wood carved either into rudimentary leaves or into wheels. Three figures _ wood carved into leaf shapes _ balance precariously on a rounded-off metallic base. Delicate washes of blue and the splintered nature of the wood arouse in the viewer a feeling of abstraction, of gestures emptied of metaphysical meaning and representation.
The exhibits submitted by Porntip Chaimansri are all woodcuts of roosters. The Boxer, five panels numbered five to nine, take up an entire wall of the gallery. All are of similar size and boast a myriad of bright colours. The delineation of these feathered creatures creates a multiplicity of optical effects with the fluent, calculated effort on the part of the artist making it all look so easy. With this series, Pornthip makes us aware of the abstraction implicit in painterlyrepresentation.
The oeuvre of Niphon Soponwattanavijit shown here is strictly without frills _ or thrills, for that matter. Dream, a numbered series of acrylics on canvas, depicts a young maiden in apparently blissful slumber. Their dreamy quality suggests a whispered conversation which positively shimmers.
An artist who seems to be currently immersed in the world of adolescence, Niphon is not afraid to be direct in his statements. At the heart of his work is the passage from the childhood innocence and jubilation to the realm of adolescence. His Land of the Children(tempera, acrylic, wood shavings and gypsum on canvas) comprises a number of small pieces arranged to construct a bigger picture. Each piece depicts a different activity in which kids typically engage: playing with toys, with siblings, enjoying each other's company, and just simply lazing around. There is something uncannily knowing in the glowing faces of these children; they all emit a sense of tranquillity, of freedom from worries. But it is more than a tad nostalgic on the part of the artist to bring us along with him as he takes this trip down memory lane.
The last member of the quartet is obsessed with angelic forms. Wutthichai Boontham's canvases are dramatic and replete with iconic references that look like they came straight out of a fairy-tale book. This impression is amplified by the presence in every single exhibit here of a winged female figure. Each canvas also depicts flora and fauna of various forms and a scattering of stars. But, even on closer inspection, one may have difficulty in recognising the symbolism intended by the artist. However, the mere presence of all these stars and flowers and angels does subliminally suggest that Wutthichai has a child-like energy and derives a simple amusement from life.
In another series of works by the same artist, 3D plays a central role. He seems to enjoy assembling and juxtaposing everyday objects such as discarded pieces of wood, paper and polystyrene snippets and various plastic items. This approach is exemplified by his Angel at Home; the vivid colours of the materials used and the way they are arranged into a sort of careless mosaic, makes this sculptural piece give off a certain delinquent, almost naive, constructivism.
These four artists, although using widely differing styles and techniques, are each moved by the same spirit. Certainly not an exhibition to wow over, this is simply an exercise in aesthetic expression. Nothing more, nothing less.
The exhibition continues until October 21 at Viengtavern Gallery, Sukhumvit Soi 21. The gallery is open daily, except Monday, from 10:30am to 6:30pm. Call 02-664-3875 for more information.
Article from Bangkok Post