Project Space Gallery to feature “Menagerie” paintings

SUNY Oneonta will present “Menagerie: Paintings by Tawan Wattuya” from Feb. 6 to March 15 in the Project Space Gallery.

A public opening reception will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, with an artist gallery talk at 5:30 p.m. There will also be a curator talk at 5 p.m. Feb. 7, and the artist will present a master class/painting workshop from 1 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 8.

Curated by SUNY Oneonta Art Department Lecturer Pearlie Rose S. Baluyut, the exhibition stages a recent series of watercolor paintings of 67 humans and 22 animals rendered in a fluid manner with increasing ambiguity and of varying dimensions, from 11 x 15 inches to 39 x 80 inches.

Referencing the 18th-century French word “menagerie,” which is a strange or diverse collection of animals kept in captivity for display, this exhibition explores the art historical continuum of image- and myth-making even before the medieval times and until the explosion of mass media and social media. As a prototype for the modern zoological garden gone awry, the Project Space Gallery will be transformed into a menagerie of global politicians caricatured as grotesque monsters and domestic or exotic animals revered as national symbols or charted as signifiers of the Chinese zodiac.

The Martin-Mullen Art Gallery and Project Space Gallery are free and open to the public from 11 am to 5 pm, Monday-Friday when the college is in session and during special events.

For more information about the gallery or upcoming exhibitions, contact Gallery Director Tim Sheesley at (607)436-2445, (607)436-3456 or visit


About the Artist

Born in 1973 in Bangkok, Thailand, Tawan Wattuya attended Silpakorn University, where he received a B.F.A. in painting. His early works were large acrylic paintings on the theme of popular culture, fusing portraiture and fashion in the garish colors of acid green, fuchsia and orange, among others. In 2003-2004, his interest shifted to the tumultuous landscape of politics, referencing the infamous in mass media. In 2007, Wattuya explored the concept of duality and imagery of twins in folklore and contemporary imagination in his one-man exhibition, “Siamese Freaks! A Modern Courtyard of Miracles.” From 2008 to 2009, he launched a series of watercolor paintings that focused on copulating nudes, rabid dogs, bimbos and superheroes.

In 2010 and 2013, he boldly critiqued conventions, depicting those in uniform, from marching military soldiers to beauty pageant contestants, in a manner that approximated their own decomposition as individuals. In recent years, Wattuya gravitated toward mural-size formats to capture the character of humans and animals in fleeting and dynamic brushstrokes through a series of portraits and studies. To date, he has exhibited in 22 solo shows and 46 group shows in Asia, Europe and the United States.

About the Curator

Pearlie Rose S. Baluyut received a B.A. (summa cum laude), M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the recipient of more than 60 grants and awards allowing her to conduct research in the United States, The Philippines, France, Thailand, Singapore and Japan. Among these was her selection as a two-time Fulbright U.S. Scholar from 1999 to 2000 (Student Grant) and from 2012 to 2013 (Faculty Grant). Baluyut has presented at many national and international conferences, authored numerous publications and curated a range of exhibitions.

She has worked as a guest curator, gallery director, art historian and adviser, and project manager, and served as a national juror of the Philippine Art Awards in Manila. Since 2005, Baluyut has taught art history, theory and criticism with a global dimension, as well as museum studies, at 10 institutions in three countries. She serves as International Committee Chair of the College Art Association, promoting the fields of art history, visual arts/culture, design and museum studies and their understanding through advocacy, intellectual engagement and commitment to the diversity of practices and practitioners.