Harvesting rice in a golden landscape, driving through the rain, a frog ready to leap out of the canvas. The concept and title of a new exhibition is "Untamed" _ in a sense an artistic return to the beauty, colours and diversity of the natural world _ and features work by 10 artists from V64 Art Studio. There are cityscapes and human figures, but even here the elements of nature _ rain, sun, ageing, regrowth _ are in the ascendant.
‘Leapfrog’ by Cece Nobre.
The media are also diverse _ oils and acrylics, canvas or wood. A bronze sculpture by Athima Tongloom, of a plump crouching woman the birds have perched upon. A large wooden carving of a human face, totem style, by Worrawat Chortubtim.
Dusit Pimchangthong's impressionist pieces completely recreate the feelings of the city in the rain, driving through or overlooking it, smudged scenes and reflective streets. Nitichai Chaiyasan also has a painting of tuk-tuks and carts moving through the rain on a busy narrow street. Jitti Jumnianwai's four-panel piece resembles a starry night merging into a circuit board. Wittiya Pised has a similar confluence of the natural and artificial, with birds perched on golden lines drawn against a corrugated background. A rice harvest in sunshine by Anurak Namapai is cast in rich gold, displaying a fine attention to detail, while the background is indistinct and immutable. Prapaipan Yantaporn, in contrast, has a still-life with sunflowers. Woravit Laokwansathit shows a lotus pond, green the overriding colour. Cece Nobre, an American-Paraguayan-Brazilian artist with a background in anthropology and one of a handful of international artists at the VG4 artists' colony, presents a frog about to leap, the colours very much alive. It's a fitting piece for the exhibition at Leapfrog, the rooftop restaurant and bar at the Ramada Encore on Sukhumvit Soi 10.
Wooden sculpture by Worrawat Chortubtim.
While the space at Leapfrog is atmospheric, nine floors up with a panoramic view of the city, there aren't always the dimensions to view an artwork from afar or from different angles. Some are situated in narrow passageways.
The artists are hoping the exhibition will demonstrate their own talents but also advertise V64, the artists' collective in the northern suburbs where dozens of artists live and work and, enthusiastically, drink.
The exhibition is also part of an encouraging Bangkok trend of major hotels using bars, lobbies or common areas to display works by local artists, one that benefits everyone involved _ the artist for the publicity and potential sales, the hotel for enhancing its cultural and social responsibility credentials, and the guests and visitors for having fascinating artworks in the building without first having to venture out into the unknown.
As another V64 artist, Rungrudee Vijitchan, remarked at the busy exhibition opening, "If 100 people come here today, and five then go to V64, it is worth it."
She said the colony, which will soon celebrate its first anniversary, was doing well, that popular artists were selling a lot of art, but the less well known were still struggling to get by.
With V64 somewhat out of town (the name, following similar colonies such as M50 in Shanghai, denotes the address, at Vibhavadi Rangsit Soi 64), city-centre exhibitions such as this may be a great way to bring their fascinating art to new audiences.
'Untamed' runs for three months at Leapfrog, 9th floor, Ramada Encore, Sukhumvit Soi 10. Visit www.v64artstudio.com
Work by Nitichai Chaiyasan.
work by Wittiya Pised and bottom , by Woravit Laokwansathit.
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- Writer: Ezra Kyrill Erker