Find­ing mean­ing in still­ness

Thai artist Chayanin Kwangkaew’s solo show draws in­spi­ra­tion from soli­tude and si­lence.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Culture - By DI­NESH KU­MAR MAGANATHAN [email protected]­tar.com.my

THEY are with us, al­ways. There is no es­cap­ing their pres­ence. Like un­wanted guests, they never seem to leave. The idea that our true com­pan­ions are ac­tu­ally the inan­i­mate ob­jects around us isn’t so far-fetched.

Thai artist Chayanin Kwangkaew, 28, of­fers an in­sight­ful study into this sub­ject with his Si­lence Speaks solo ex­hi­bi­tion at G13 Gallery in Petaling Jaya. The ex­hi­bi­tion, which runs till June 23, marks the painter’s first solo with the gallery.

Pre­vi­ously, Chayanin, also known as Kapin, ex­hib­ited at G13 for the Gen. Y (2016) and Views From The 6ix (2016) group shows.

“The con­tents of the cur­rent se­ries is about me learn­ing to lis­ten to my own feel­ings and thoughts. I also tried to con­nect with and ‘feel’ each of the ob­jects that I found in­ter­est­ing,” says Chayanin, a fine arts grad­u­ate from Sil­pakorn Uni­ver­sity in Bangkok.

Chayanin’s Si­lence Speaks ex­hi­bi­tion at G13 is a spread of 12 oil paint­ings cen­tred on still life ob­jects.

As sur­real as it sounds, the young artist says the art­works re­flect the connections he forged be­tween his emo­tions and ob­jects around him.

The ideas for this se­ries came from a darker point in Chayanin’s life.

“De­pres­sion came crashing into my life a few years ago. Back then, I was liv­ing alone ... in si­lence. But it was not en­tirely quiet. There were voices al­ways talk­ing to me. They were my own thoughts,” he re­calls.

Th­ese days, Chayanin is in a hap­pier place. He has been busy build­ing up a pro­file – at home and abroad.

Last month, he was part of a group ex­hi­bi­tion called El­e­ments Of Breath in Melbourne, Aus­tralia, fea­tur­ing eight Thai con­tem­po­rary artists.

His other group ex­hi­bi­tions in­clude The Con­cept Of Self: On Power, Iden­tity And La­bels (2017) at the Sub­hashok the Arts Cen­tre in Thai­land and also show­ing at Art Stage Sin­ga­pore in 2016.

This G13 show is a timely ex­hibit to gauge how his art has grown in re­cent years.

“For me, the cur­rent se­ries is a shift of sub­ject mat­ter from paint­ing hu­man fig­ures to paint­ing still life (works). Si­lence Speaks de­notes a change from ob­serv­ing outer be­hav­iours to looking at in­ner thoughts. I asked my­self whether I saw ‘beauty’ in ob­jects when I was feeling down. Th­ese thoughts even­tu­ally in­spired my art­works.”

In re­al­is­ing this idea of “re­al­ity” on the can­vas, Chayanin em­ployed a wide com­bi­na­tion of tech­niques in the Si­lence Speak se­ries.

He cap­tured the still life sub­jects with a monochro­matic ap­proach, us­ing pho­to­graphs in the studio to plan out the works.

“In the ab­stract parts, I pre­ferred highly in­tense, vi­brant brush­strokes ... this is where I added colours.”

If you look fur­ther at the works, Chayanin has reduced the in­ten­sity of the colours on can­vas.

“The shades are meant to cap­ture emo­tions and feel­ings ... when some­one is fac­ing the dark­est mo­ments in life,” he ex­plains.

One of the most striking works in Si­lence Speaks is an oil on linen paint­ing called Rose, which fea­tures a sin­gle rose stalk in a glass jar, half-filled with wa­ter, sit­ting atop a block of wood.

The flower is in full bloom, the leaves still fresh and in­tact. There is deep melan­choly in the paint­ing, with the pow­der blue hue giv­ing it a som­bre tone.

“Brush­strokes are un­pre­dictable. No one knows or can guess the out­come (on can­vas). That’s how I felt dur­ing this par­tic­u­lar time.”

Above all, Chayanin fondly re­calls the many hours in the studio, where the pre­lim­i­nary ideas of Si­lence Speaks took shape.

“When I ob­served and sat still (at my work bench), there were th­ese con­ver­sa­tions that took place in my head. I came to re­alise that hu­man feel­ings in­flu­ence our vi­sion to see things dif­fer­ently. There is beauty, joy and value in ev­ery­thing.”

Si­lence Speaks ex­hi­bi­tion is on at G13 Gallery, Block B, Ke­lana Square, Petaling Jaya in Se­lan­gor till June 23. Open daily from 11am to 5pm. Closed on Sun­day and pub­lic hol­i­days. Visit: www.g13­gallery.com. FB: G13 Gallery. Call: 03-7880 0991.

— GLENN GUAN/The Star — Pho­tos: G13 Gallery — GLENN GUAN/The Star

Chayanin says his Si­lence Speaks ex­hi­bi­tion at G13 Gallery is about him learn­ing to lis­ten to his own feel­ings. A work from Chayanin called The Roses (oil on linen, 2018). Mo­ment No.2 (oil on linen, 2018). Rose (oil on linen, 2018). Each of Chayanin’s...

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