Sometimes wonder what price we're paying for all the scientific advances that have made our lives so convenient these days. Just how much of what make us truly human have we lost? Technology has become so pervasive that it wouldn't surprise me if our (children were insensitive to the difference in atmosphere between candlelight and electric light. Or if they couldn't distinguish between a cool breeze and an air-conditioned room, or between the changing colors in nature as the seasons turn and the fluorescent colors on the screen of the latest model mobile phone. Calligraphy is a dying art because it's so much easier to choose colors and font on a computer. And reading, an activity which engages the mind, has been replaced by television, a passive medium that robs us of the pleasure of imagining what our favorite characters look like. Our facility for using our imagination to see beauty around us is under assault, and the belief that peace at-id contentment come from within, an idea that's central to the Eastern way of life, is likewise being lost.

The series of paintings entitied LIFE ... STILL LIFE was inspired by mv reflections on the interplay between mind and the material objects that surround us in our everydav lives -- how by reflecting on the nature of these objects,we can uncover the beauty that is inherent in them. There is a conversation between the spirit or mind, which is abstract, and the world of physical reality, and it's through this conversation that we come to understand ourselves. Only if we can recognize the importance of every thought that gives rise to some physical form can we appreciate the beauty of that form. We can only discover the beauty of living when we have love and appreciation for the people and things in the world around us.

Forms take shape when the physical world enters our spirit and inspires us. The simple jars that have been made for millennia are an example of the melding of the tangible and the abstract. They are an expression of complementary concepts - embracing and letting go, fullness and emptiness, giving and taking. The drops of water that fall on the seeds that are waiting to sprout and anchor the soil point to the intricate network of connections in nature. The tree branch is a sign of unyielding strength, while the flower, with its place in religious worship, is a symbol of delicacy, fragility and impermanence. Leaves are the bridge between the hardness of the branch and the fragility of the flower. Nature has created these relationships to teach us the meaning of beauty and harmony. But to discover such beauty in our own lives, we must find a place inside ourselves forthe free play of our spirit and imagination.

The world of contemporary art is incredibly diverse, both in terms of the concepts that inform it and the ways in which these concepts are conveyed. Art has taken on many exciting new forms. It is a medium for the expression of complex thoughts and emotions. In Western art, scientific reasoning has become an increasingly common source of inspiration. In contrast, while Asian artists have discovered the amazing wealth of new forms and techniques that characterize contemporary art, they still tend to be inspired by spiritual concerns, such as religion, customs and traditional beliefs, In the midst of this tremendous diversity, however, I've gone back to the most basic elements of painting, relying on nothing more than my canvas, my brushes and my paints. This seems to me the approach that best captures my recent thoughts and feelings. Dipping my brush into the paint and applying it to the canvas, giving expression to the forms that have taken shape in my mind, is, I've found, a form of meditation. It's as if I'm sitting in a Buddhist chapel, but instead of prayer beads, I have a paintbrush in my hand, Every stroke is part of a learning process that allows me to experience nature through the tip of my brush - through the act of creating art. It is a theory of learning that seeks to uncover the beauty of life by making a space for the play of the mind. And in doing this, it may even help to recapture the inner peace and happiness that, traditionally, have formed the basis of the Asian way of life.

Thavorn Ko-Udomvit