A BIG REVIEW   Dance of Shadows

Two weeks ago I caught the opening night of an exhibition by Narongyot Thongyoo, an exceptionally gifted Thai artist, whom I’ve known for about eight years. Like most Thais, Narongyot Thongyoo uses a nickname; He calls himself Big. Several years ago I curated/exhibited a show of four young Thai artists, of which Big was one of the participants. My friend Lek, a name which means small, was also represented, as well as Somsak Junto (Nong) and Rungsak Dokbua.

At the time, Big was painting large canvases depicting lotus plants in decay. As an artist and as a Buddhist, he is well aware of the vibrancy of all life’s transformations and that beauty lies in what dies as well as in what lives.

In a country where people love big, bright flowers, he took a significant risk in producing a body of work that essentially depicted death and decay, but this is where he was at the time. This is what artists do – they follow steadfastly an immutable vision.

Most recently Big has been working in wire, very much in the same tradition as Alexander Calder’s early wire works from the 1920s and 30s and Like Calder,  Big suffuses his delicate creations with both whimsy and mystery. These are installations, personas etched in wire, breathing in and out of focus through shadows that fall and turn against the wall, lost in the dance of the butterfly’s dream.

This marvelous exhibition is currently at Tita Gallery, one of the finer places to see art around Chiang Mai.

Live the gift of art.

panom, Galen