March 2015: "My Past, My Self" - Solo Exhibition by artist Thar Gyi
Thar Gyi is one of Myanmar's most creative and successful abstract artists. It is with great pleasure that we host Thar Gyi's solo show in River II, opening on Sunday March 1st at 4:00 running through March 8th.
Thar Gyi – Master of abstraction
Foreword – Gill Pattison, River Gallery
Thar Gyi is a contrarian. Unlike the majority of Myanmar's artists, Thar Gyi's art practice is firmly lodged in abstraction. Yet he draws inspiration from his surroundings, transforming the everyday into something intriguing, initially unrecognizable, but which somehow speaks to us.
He first started painting his rhythmic works after a trip to Bagan a few years ago. He and his friends had climbed one of the pagodas to see the view, and while the others were admiring the sunset over the Irrawaddy, Thar Gyi was looking the other way, at the newly ploughed field in the deep shadow cast by the pagoda. It was the texture of the ploughed earth and the subtle gradations of shadow which propelled his first experiments with the delicate but densely ordered ridges of paint that have characterized his works ever since.
His new series – "My Past, My Self" – echoes this earlier work, with the perfectly calibrated ridges of paint masking the faint silhouettes of shadowy figures behind the screen of paint. But in a startling new development, the main focus of some of the works are large, stylized figures which dominate the canvas, cut out of mirrored fiberglass.
How we experience one of these works depends in part on how we look at it, and what it reflects back to us. From some vantage points, we see ourselves, from other angles we see what is in the background behind us. Which, when you think about it, is how we perceive more generally. We look and see things - not how they are, but how we are. In this catalogue, we have used the artist's own photos of the works, showing his selection of background imprinted on the mirror figures.
Speaking about his works, Thar Gyi goes back to a favorite theme of his – the interconnection of people through time, over generations. He says that the small, faintly perceived figures at the bottom of the canvas, represent previous generations – literally the foundation for the contemporary person, who stands boldly and freely above, invested with an energy that the boundaries of the canvas cannot contain. We see ourselves in these cut-outs, and perhaps others standing beside us. People of today, reminded of those who came before.
Other works without the mirror figures show most strongly the chromatic harmony of the paint ridge works, the slight vibrato of the lines abruptly broken by a black shape or line.
Thar Gyi's works reward long looking; they seem to alter subtly in different lights through the day, and as we abandon ourselves to the subtle effects of the rigorous yet undulating lines of paint. This latest series demonstrates a maturing artist, confident in his mastery of a unique style which demonstrates directly his evolving creative vision.
Gill Pattison – River Gallery, March 2015