Opening: 6-9pm Thursday, May 30, 2013
“Surviving” is the work of emerging artist Chov Theanly. This work
represents the accumulation of years of self-study and a talent for
creating photo-realistic paintings.
“I want to be an honest artist,” says Theanly when talking about
this series. Drawn from Theanly’s own experience as a young artist,
through a simple gesture he tells the story of everyday life and
personal aspirations. In each composition a solitary figure stands or
sits with their head tilted back, and their body extended behind them.
Theanly paints a horizon just above their mouth suggesting that they
are floating in water, barely able to breath—just “surviving”.
The figures do not struggle but are calm and appear introspective. A
tension is created however by the imagined water and uncertainty of
Theanly is very sparing and efficient with his use of colors and
lines. Instead of depicting the water realistically, he presents an
abstracted form that “we can’t see with our eyes, but we can feel
it.” He applies minimalistic fields of color for each individual,
suggesting a personal experience that is known only to them. He has
reduced the complexity of the human condition to a singular gesture
that is poetic and universal. In this series, Theanly draws on live
models that he selects amongst his friends, people he observes on the
street and even himself. He poses them standing as well as sitting on
chairs, a difference that signifies their varying personal
circumstances and an echo of his own.
Theanly is a self-taught artist, inspired at an early age by Cambodian
landscape artists, Russian social-realism and local sign painters. He
was surrounded in his youth by images and books of artists and this
offered him a form of personal expression. For over 14 years he has
been painting portraits and signs, aiming to master oil painting. This
is Theanly’s first solo exhibition.
Exhibition: May 30 – July 7, 2013
Java Café & Gallery
56 Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open everyday 7am – 10pm