Pinaree Sanpitak is one of the most compelling and respected Thai artists of her generation, and her work can be counted among the most powerful explorations of women’s experience in all of Southeast Asia. For well over twenty years, her primary inspiration has been the female body, distilled to its most basic forms and imbued with an ethereal spirituality. The quiet, Zen- like abstraction of her work owes something to her training in Japan and sets it somewhat apart from the colorful intensity of much Thai art. Her rigorous focus on the female form, explored through a variety of media – painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, performance, and culinary arts, to name but a few – has resulted in an astoundingly varied and innovative body of work. For many years, and certainly since the birth of her son in 1993, a central focus of her work has been the female breast, which she relates to imagery of the natural world and to the iconic forms of the Buddhist stupa (shrine) and offering bowl. Often called a feminist or Buddhist artist, she resists such easy categorizations, preferring to let her work speak to each viewer directly, to the heart and soul, with the most basic language of form, color, and texture. Her work is not lacking in a conceptual framework, but it is one informed primarily by a deeply felt spiritual sense rather than by rigid dogmas or ideological constructs.
Sanpitak’s work has been featured in numerous museum exhibitions in Asia and Europe during the past twenty years, and she has participated in major biennials in Australia, Italy, Japan, and Korea. But although her work is much admired by art specialists in the United States, there has until now been little opportunity for the public, especially in New York, to see her work first hand. So it is with great pleasure that Tyler Rollins Fine Art presents her first New York solo exhibition. Quietly Floating features a series of large, monochromatic paintings of breast and cloud forms. Some are done in a soft, metallic silver, with delicate, textured highlights, while others are infused with vibrant colors; each reflects the natural light of northern California, where the works were painted. These breast/cloud forms also appear in a remarkable group of intimate works on Japanese paper, and in an installation of large, aluminum mirrors, cast at her foundry on the outskirts of Bangkok. As the exhibition title suggests, the works convey a sense of tranquility and weightlessness that is at once otherworldly and profoundly natural. Through basic imagery of the female form, they convey a powerful sense of humanity, of the quiet truth of its physical and spiritual interconnectedness.