Taona Sonakul “Foto Construct” at Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts

She expresses her vision in a cascade of viewpoints that mirror the diversity and magnitude of visually perceived reality.

poster for Taona Sonakul

Taona Sonakul "Foto Constructs"

at Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts
in the DUMBO, other Brooklyn area
This event has ended - (2012-05-11 - 2012-06-08)

In Reviews by Mary Hrbacek 2012-05-25 print

Taona Sonakul’s multiple-frame photographic formats are steeped in cinematic influences. Her experience as a former film producer is reflected in her experimental approach to photography. She expresses her vision in a cascade of viewpoints that mirror the diversity and magnitude of visually perceived reality. The artist’s Thai heritage also influences her exploration of visual imagery; both ancient Thai iconography and traditional Thai dance reveal great intricacy and complexity of forms, as shapes unfold and proliferate. In this respect, Sonakul’s photographic prints reflect her cultural background. While the inspiration she has gained from both Analytic and Synthetic Cubism informs her imagery with a western modernist twist, she has merged her own history, cultural heritage and experience in a parallel progression. With underpinnings in the Cubist ideas of Picasso and Braque, Sonakul creates imagery juxtaposed in combined frames that are synthesized in a unified theme, expressing a metaphor for actual experience.

Taona Sonakul 'Fuzzy June' gouttelette on canvas, 36 x 50 2 1/2 in (2009)

The artist’s mischievous humor and natural esthetic sensibility, honed in a Fine Art Photography program, lend a light-hearted, sophisticated quality to much of her work. Both “Woman With Guitar” (2011) and ”Toilet” (2009) riff playfully on the twentieth century art giants Picasso and Duchamp. Her piece “Toilet” references images of fixtures seen with a discreet view that stresses their abstract features with perfect decorum. In “Woman with a Guitar,” Sonakul makes optimal use of the interstices between positive shapes to assert womanly curves. The work insinuates the ubiquitous, felt presence of the female, whether she appears “in the flesh,” or makes herself seen, even when she is absent. Sonakul’s “Chao Phraya” (2009), (gouttelette on canvas), offers a simultaneously serene yet energized version of a “seascape.” Far from a traditional sea view, this work focuses on the varied, differentiated particles of light reflected from water’s surfaces, captured from various angles. Although the action ostensibly takes place on the surface, the pervasiveness of the speckled light particles leads one to wonder if the light symbolizes the presence of sentient beings that have passed over. While the one hundred ten monochromatic, tonal rectangles evoke tranquility, the subtle changes in the density and brightness of the sunspots recharge and stimulate the senses. The piece seems destined as a focus for meditation. Sonakul’s “Drop 2” (2009), interspersed with gold, blue and bright pink frames, offers a similar experience, with intentionally heightened surface depth of field and contrast, creating fluctuating emotional responses as one scans the field.

Taona Sonakul 'Woman With a Guitar' Photo on Hahnemuhle Paper 36 x 32 in. (2011)

Sonakul captures natural surfaces penetrated with unexpectedly bright light that can be glimpsed in patterns that transform recognizable subjects into the realm of visual poetry. “Drop 3” (2009) presents eighty carefully cropped integrated views comprised of tree limbs, cloudy skies and twilit sun orbs. The hazy, indistinct images have a mesmerizing, compelling aspect that induces a peaceful feeling of enlightenment. Despite their poetic content, the viewer must nonetheless scan these narratives, as they can be only fully apprehended through a time-based linear visual progression.

Sonakul’s attention to shape, her sensitivity to ephemeral effects and her attraction to contrasts of shadow and light achieve a lyrical balance that paradoxically calms as it stimulates. She achieves these effects with a traditional, not a digital, camera, orienting her lenses and her equipment at various angles, as she establishes unique juxtapositions. Sonukal ‘s integrity extends to her limited edition gouttellette prints, which are created by a new technology for digital printing, designed to eliminate hazardous waste and pollution. This process helps to make her seamless presentation particularly flawless.

Mary Hrbacek

Mary Hrbacek. Mary Hrbacek has been writing about art in New York City since the late nineties. She has had more than one hundred reviews published in print in The New York Art World, and has written for NY Arts magazine. Her Commentary spans a broad spectrum of art, from the contemporary cutting-edge to the Old Masters. She has covered exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney and the Museum of Modern Art, as well as the Armory Show, the Affordable Art Fair, and two consecutive Venice Biennials. After a trip in 2002 to China, Hrbacek wrote a special essay report on the cities of Beijing, Chongching and on art in Shanghai. Hrbacek is an artist who maintains a studio in Harlem. Website » See other writings

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