Greenberg Van Doren Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of recent work by the Thai artist Sung. The exhibition is on view from May 6 to June 12, 2009. This is the artist’s first exhibition in North America. The exhibition will feature large-scale oil paintings made in 2008-2009.
Sung’s work concentrates on the female figure whom she presents at first glance as innocent, spindly creatures. The girls are all rosy-cheeked, small-mouthed, wide-eyed and ambiguously young. Sung juxtaposes their femininity - the frailty of their limbs and intricately rendered dresses and hair - with the strength suggested through their intense gazes. The stereotypical idea of a “beautiful girl” rendered in pristine flowing dresses is subverted by their bodies, which are alien and distorted. The deep atmospheric palette heightens the fantastical world in which these girls live. In My Pet #2, a young lady knits a spider web; butterflies are kept within a realistic cage, where her rib cage would be. In the large work Couple (75 x 118 inches), a shorthaired girl quiets two fish floating in a suspended birdcage. Though appearing softer than the other girls, she holds a key in her left hand, indicating her power over these trapped creatures. Lastly, in My Pet # 1, Sung employs the birdcage again, yet here it perches above a girl’s head, crowning her. A headless snake wraps itself around the girl’s neck as she stares, emotionless. Sung’s girls are not angelic figures, but formidable young girls, eerily calm and possessing an internal strength in their own world.
Sung is one of a handful of women artists to appear a decade after such icons of Asian art as Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara. Her painting evokes a world of female fantasy painted by a woman, not unlike the American artist Lisa Yuskavage. Unlike her male predecessors, her style of painting refers to the tradition of anime but rendered in full, volumetric forms in a distinctly soft, rich palette.
Sung was born in 1984 in Nakornsawan, Thailand and currently lives and works in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She was educated at the Chiang Mai University. She has exhibited at the Chiang Mai University Art Museum and the Chiang Mai City Art and Culture Museum.