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"Images Breakdown 2" by Kaz Orii
by Mulan Gallery
Location: Mulan Gallery
Date: 22 Jan - 15 Feb 2009

Jirapat Tatsanasomboon together with Kamol Tamseewan began their first exclusive feature in Mulan Gallery on 8 December 2008. The exhibition, entitled “Man Heroes Myths and Gods” was the first in the line up of presentations that showcase the profoundness and diverse styles conjured by Contemporary Thai Artists.

The art of Tatsanasomboon, covered by Editor Steven Pettifor in the Oct/Nov 2008 edition of Asian Art News, juxtaposes a Pop Art approach with imagery of Thai icons that are cultural and traditional. The artist addresses urban Thai culture, engulfed by western materialism, with wit and humour that on many occasions subtly emit a hint of cynicism. His works reflect tensions amidst the dichotomy of “modern‐traditional”, “east‐ west” interactions and are often satirical. His paintings have encompassed the use of western iconic figures from Marvel comics, Greek mythology and the art of selected Modern Art Masters like Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, American Pop Artists Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Tatsanasomboon constantly pushes the conceptual boundaries of cultural dichotomy and is without question, a rising star in the Asian Contemporary Art scene.

The mild‐mannered Tamseewan, contrasts with the character and energy of his paintings. The artist transfigures the human portrait into a medium for intense expression ‐ A specific selection of villagers with prominent skull structures are interviewed with a carefully composed set of questions, the image of a portrait of the selected villagers emerges as the seemingly chaotic marks harmonize. The source of his paintings comes from the subconscious by internalizing his painstaking interviews with them before engaging his canvas with intrinsic fervency. Adopting techniques of dripping and pouring of paint onto the canvas, a technique commonly related to the famous American Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock, the artist responds to the tensions churning through the recent years in Thailand through the explosive engagement between dark enamel and the white surface of the canvas.

From 22 January 2009, yet another first feature in Mulan Gallery, Japanese artist Kaz Orii exhibits “Images Breakdown 2”. The exhibition is proudly endorsed by The Embassy of Japan in Singapore.

Kaz Orii’s most recent abstract expressions in “Images Breakdown 2”, a series of paintings, seem to take the likeness of satellite‐photo images of Urban Cities superimposed with tranquil shades from a palette inspired by the pride of Japan’s very own nature reserves and its seasonal harmony of colours.

Orii’s paintings took root from Cubism 10 years ago when he first began his career as an artist. Since
then his creations have grown and matured to a soulful originality as he gradually discards representational imagery while continuing to subversively encompass contemporary concerns in many layers. The artist taps inspirations from his very own intrinsic realms, the unconscious, the accumulated experiences and knowledge of being Japanese in the cosmopolitan metropolis of Tokyo in juxtaposition with his vivid love for nature. Furthermore, the artist avidly takes on the hobby of farming and currently owns and manages a fully operational farm of various crops.

Through his career as an artist, Orii constantly redirects himself to attain a state of “infinity” or “impermanence” in his oil paintings. This state is a condition also known as “wabi sabi”, in Japanese culture.

Wabi and Sabi are not easily translated, it is a concept derived from the Buddhist assertion of the Three Marks of Existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically Impermanence (無常 mujō?). It is an aesthetic that is sometimes described as beauty that is found in the "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete" (according to Leonard Koren in his book Wabi‐Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers). Wabi connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and is applicable to both natural and human‐made objects, and understated elegance which include which encompasses quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.

In a recent interview, Kaz Orii shared with us that, “It is true that restriction which lie in the actuality hampered my free expression but moreover, it was a problem that I made the limit of my works because of having an image of the work to be made in my mind. “, he gradually discarded representational images in his paintings in order to free himself from limitations and hindrances so as to be able to express himself freely through his paintings.

He also explains his preference to paint from the unconscious, saying “To have an image of the work before painting sometimes risks to stay in the small world to fix the destination of the work. The image in my mind must be a tentative work and I have to be ready to destroy the image anytime.” By painting from the unconscious, and to respond to each previous stroke of paint laid on or removed from the canvas, he is able to fathom the unlimited possibilities in his paintings.

Painting spontaneously, reacting to each mark made subconsciously, requires much sensitivity on the artist’s part in order to create a harmonious picture. Kaz Orii recognizes that improving ones sensitivity is an endless journey of self improvement which he mentions is one of the many factors that fuels his passionate pursuit through experiments and explorations, learning in the process to discard fears of producing seemingly haphazard images and instead to respond positively.

The source for the subtle yet important dichotomy between nature and urbanism in Kaz’s paintings comes from his sentiments towards the deterioration of humanity with the natural environment due to bad habits and irresponsibility attributed to urbanism. The arrival of urbanism brought forth deforestation, pollution at every level and inevitable social chaos. The artist’s longing for the nature he was so familiar with in his childhood years, today recedes rapidly to be replaced by steel, concrete and “by products” of the waning humanity and social irresponsibility, and perhaps his hope for a harmonious co‐existence between preserving nature with the inevitable urbanism led to his superimposition of nature inspired palette onto the topographical urban forms that seem to shift between order and chaos.

All featured artists are exclusively represented by Mulan Gallery in Singapore. The gallery proudly presents monthly features of contemporary artworks by artists who have been carefully selected from the vast pool of talents in both the international and local art scene. 2009 will be an exciting year for the gallery with a line‐up of featured artists.

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