October 30, 2009

Humorous Modernism with Vashaya (Win) Mukdamanee

Review by Ryan Turley

Vashaya (Win) Mukdamanee is currently a second-year MFA student specializing in Painting at The Pratt Institute and is funded by a Fulbright Scholarship.

Win currently has a solo show, Embedded on view in the East One Gallery as well as two works in a group show, Speaking to a Kitchen Mouse in Steuben Gallery. Both shows present recent work by the artist which is part of a larger series entitled Industrial Reflection.

Reconfigured filing cabinets amid humorous views on the consumerism of monster chain stores like IKEA take center stage in the works from Industrial Reflection. The reconfigurations and manipulations of objects such as a chest of drawers thrusting its interiors outward, (Reconfiguration of a Wood Cabinet 2009) and a filing cabinet unfolding itself in an almost domino effect (Tilted Black Cabinet 2009) create a playful sentiment to otherwise utilitarian furnishings. Humor has been an exciting new development in Win’s body of work. He merits his experiences of living in New York and studying at Pratt with his new found clarity and direction in making pieces that he describes as “planned and humorous” and less “relying on pure intuition and chance outcomes.” Win believes that this new way of working will allow him to avoid repetition in his outcomes and allow him to continue to create a diverse and successful body of work.
Win’s work plays with manipulation, reconfiguration and re-presentation of found objects. These found objects are reminiscent of a lost modernist era of industrial materials and purely functional design that Win believes is no longer prevalent in the United States, but is very much alive in his hometown, Bangkok, Thailand. Win aims to show objects that often are overlooked by most in an innovative way, enlightening their significance and relevance that was once a part of the object’s existence.

Win spoke to me about his earlier work including his assemblage pieces as well as his installations and how they relied more heavily on “chance and intuition” in regards to finding the “right” objects to create the pieces. This process was more akin to happenstance rather than planning a sculpture or installation. Win relied on a “gut feeling,” or an attraction to certain objects and the form of the piece followed this initial discovery. “It is always difficult to find the right object,” Win explains, and you must always be in search of the appropriate pieces for the work.

As he continues to develop as an artist so has his process of navigating the search for material in which to create from. Win realized that if he focused his search for the “right” materials he was able to create a more clear and precise outcome that would “speak not only to himself but also to a broader audience.” He feels that with this more focused search for objects he would be able to communicate in a more direct and apparent manner.

Win speaks about how he was “attracted to these” old objects,” because he was feeling some sort of a link between these objects and his former home in Thailand, where these objects are still commonplace and well utilized. Win’s goal is to “breathe new life” into these objects and materials in order to “challenge, the common belief that Modernism has disappeared from Contemporary Society.”

In addition to the two shows currently on view, Win has a show opening on November 13th at SMILE Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For further information on Win, please visit his website: www.winmukdamanee.com

This exhibition is part of the Student Exhibition Spaces Program coordinated by the Center for Career and Professional Development at Pratt Institute.  All current students can submit work for inclusion in future exhibitions by emailing ccpdprograms@gmail.com for more information.

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