Art Department’s Pearlie Rose Baluyut, Ph.D. is giving a Curator Talk on the exhibition Menagerie: Paintings by Tawan Wattuya on February 7, 2019 (Thursday) from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Project Space Gallery in Fine Arts Center at SUNY Oneonta.
Dr. Baluyut will provide a biographical overview of the contemporary Thai painter Wattuya, a formal analysis of his watercolors, and an art historical reflection on the exhibition theme, beginning with how Art History chronicled mankind’s visual obsession with itself and its invention: the Other—mythic or divine, familiar or grotesque, sheathed in gold or scales, inhabiting a summit or the underworld.
From anthropomorphic gods to caricatured ghouls, creatures of fantasy mirror humanity’s ascent and descent as the latter masters its unpredictable environment since time immemorial. Furthermore, when fused into hybrid forms such as the lamassu, gorgon, or sphinx of antiquity, they performed an apotropaic function, forewarning enemies with their sheer size, causing injury with their evil eye, or protecting sacred temples and mortuary precincts with their ferocity. Indeed, power manifested itself as man’s negotiation with nature—a perpetual tug of war where the predator and the prey were interchangeable.
The exhibition Menagerie: Paintings by Tawan Wattuya, which provides a panorama of our progress, runs from February 6 to March 15, 2019.