Looking at Art - December

<strong>Pinaree Sanpitak</strong><br/>Born 1961, Bangkok Thailand; Resides Thailand<br/><br/><i>Womanly Bodies</i> 1999 <br/>Lithograph with white saa chine collé (mulberry paper) <br/>Workshop Proof, edn of 15 <br/>41 x 38.5cm [image]; 60.5 x 45.5cm [paper] <br/>Collaborator: Basil Hall <br/>Printer: Dallas Gold  <br/>Gifted by the artist & Northern Editions Printmaking Studio, 1999 <br/>Charles Darwin University Art Collection – NTU773 <br/>Image © the artist

Pinaree Sanpitak

Regarded internationally as one of Thailand’s most significant artists, Pinaree Sanpitak graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Tsukuba, Japan in 1986. A feminist and driving force within her country’s art scene since the 1980s, Sanpitak co-founded and managed the Silom Art Space in Bangkok from 1991 to 1995, providing support to many artists within her region.

An “industrious and explorative artist”, Sanpitak’s subject matter is primarily concerned with the female form. Her recurring vessel and mound motifs are worked and reworked through a range of media including: painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, textiles, performance and the culinary arts. Her materials range from wax, flowers, charcoal and perishable foods, to glass – the latter being the source for her most recent works created in collaboration with master glass-blower Silvano Signoretto from Venice, Italy.

Sanpitak participated in the 3rd Asia-Pacific Triennial (1999) in Australia and the 2nd Fukuoka Asian Triennial (2002) in Japan. She has held solo exhibitions throughout Thailand, Singapore, Japan, France and the USA and has been artist-in-residence in Paris, Stockholm, California and Australia.

Womanly Bodies 1999 was produced during the artist’s residency at the School of Fine Art’s Northern Editions Printmaking Workshop, Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University) in mid-September 1999. Her residency coincided with a trip to Australia to exhibit her major sculptural installation Womanly Bodies in the 3rd Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, which was also acquired by QAG.

Sanpitak recalls being initially hesitant to participate in a printmaking workshop, as she had not made prints since her art school days as a student. After a week collaborating with NTU printmaking staff (Editioning Manager Basil Hall and printers Suzanne Knight and Leon Stainer), she gained confidence and a renewed empathy for the medium. Sanpitak produced three lithographs during this time (editioned by Dallas Gold), as well as collographs, etchings and drypoints, several of which were taken back to Bangkok and printed by Smith Chomdee.

Womanly Bodies 1999 is a meditation on the female torso, rendered symbolically in Sanpitak’s signature and sensuous vessel-like form. Eschewing bright or saturated colour for a natural earth palette, her preference for the textural and gestural – over the hard-edged and linear – are apparent through the medium of lithography. “Shunning the overtly political and didactic in favour of the psychological and suggestive”, Sanpitak’s work is nonetheless powerful and persuasive, inviting contemplation and multiple interpretations. Her practice is essentially a meditation on femininity, womanhood and motherhood. In the artist’s own words, “woman” is “the mystery, the incomplete, the versatile, the passionate, the vessel, the practical and the nonsense”.

Sanpitak is represented in many public and private collections throughout Thailand, Singapore and Japan, as well as Australia. The CDU Art Collection has seven prints by Sanpitak in its holdings. Womanly Bodies 1999, along with two of the artist’s collographs, is currently displayed in In Print: Charles Darwin University Art Collection, showing in the CDU Art Gallery until early February 2011.

Eloise Baldwin
CDU Art Collection Assistant & CDU Art Gallery Attendant
1 December 2010

Sources:
B. Mertens, “Pinaree Sanpitak - Thailand” in: Art - AsiaPacific, Issue 33, 2002, p.91; M. Reilly & S. Grayson, “Pinaree Sanpitak: Quietly Floating”, exhibition catalogue essay in: http://www.trfineart.com/pdfs/reviews/0000/0200/Quietly_Floating_Essay__low_res_.pdf ;
P. Sanpitak, Bangkok, May 2000, http://www.rama9art.org/artisan/2000/may/womanly/index.html ; S. Pettifor, “Solid by Pinaree Sanpitak” (13 February–31 March 2010), exhibition catalogue essay, http://www.thavibu.com/thailand/pinaree_sanpitak/thavibu_pinareefolder.pdf

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