Specializing in Thai & Asian Contemporary Art


Nelum is an exhibition of recent paintings by 45-year-old Thai artist Somneuk Huangtanapan. An MFA graduate from the Academy of Arts in San Francisco, Nelum is Somneuk’s seventh solo exhibition in Thailand, in which he presents 12 abstract acrylic and mixed media canvases inspired by Buddhist symbolism.    

Expressive and gestural in their execution, Somneuk’s earlier creative approach has gradually refined into a more rhythmic, almost meditative action. His compositions are often layered into two planes or realms, offering a duality to his art, a pictorial yin-yang existence reflecting the artist’s philosophical outlook toward individual spiritual adherence and fulfilment.

In Nelum, Somneuk draws upon the polyvalent symbol of the lotus flower, which has long rooted associations within Asian culture. In India, the lotus denotes a union of the planet’s four governing elements – earth, air, fire, and water. The aquatic botanic also holds strong associations to Buddhists for the metaphoric journey from the muddy pool of attachment, desire, and suffering, to flowering purity of enlightenment.

Against Thailand’s recent backdrop of social unrest and within an unresolved atmosphere of political disillusionment, Somneuk deliberates the declensional strata of Thai society and its possibilities for spiritual redemption. Vying between unrestrained expressiveness and controlled geometric delineations, and delivered through an emotive use of colour, Nelum’s four-part compositions are created in the spirit of the great canonical 20th century painters.

Iwan Bagus: IWAN
August 4 – November 15, 2015