“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas
We’re always told to stay within the lines and that things are ordered or contained to not bleed past those lines. Last April 18th at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, AF came to see the third solo exhibition of renowned Cambodian artist, Sopheap Pich. At first glance of the very abstract yet sculptural wall pieces make you think that what you see are just a series of boxes clumped together but as your vision settle in – your eyes opened to another facet wonderfully crafted and fashioned by this artist.
The new works were from his Wall Reliefs series that debuted at last year’s Documenta (13) in Kassel, Germany. Most of the grid-based works were hewn from locally sourced materials of rattan or bamboo partially covered with strips of burlap taken from previously repaired rice bags. In various types of wall relief pieces that Pich ranged from the moody dark charcoals, earthy browns, to the rusted ochre red tone and even a lush luxurious gold. Considering the materials for the red ochre from powdered pigment of clay taken from various parts of Cambodia to the darks from the charcoal fires in his studio, Pich imbues each piece with a tactile story of his culture, experience and a moment. He has managed to not only control the grid but break past it with these corporeal materials that brings so much life and dimension. The grids clearly exhibited the dichotomies of self-containment and breaking past barriers. Even the burlap repaired in colored strings or twine illustrate the meticulous care the artist gave the detailed parts of his work. In the wrong execution, it could turn out to be a craft project but Pich’s execution is extremely of high caliber. A sense of fragility is offset by the substantial heft of the craftsmanship.
Pich’s sculptural work is made of humble raw materials but it fascinated with its very high level craftsmanship. It has certainly achieved making us see that in life’s simple items that it can give such complex layers and dimensions as you take a longer look. It is the transforming power of art but in subtlety is its strength. Pich graces us with art that relieves us of pretenses and finessed it with humility.
Sopheap Pich: Reliefs / On View: April 18 – June 14, 2013
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am – 6 pm)
Tyler Rollins Fine Art. 529 West 20th Street, 10W. NYC, NY 10011
art review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
art images from Tyler Rollins Fine Art courtesy of the artist
event photography by: Max Noy