Los Angeles, CA – Reisig and Taylor Contemporary is presenting Chapter 2: A Long Way Home, a new body of work by interdisciplinary Thai-American artist Suwichada Busamrong-Press (b. Khonkean, Thailand). This is the artist’s debut solo exhibition, and includes painting, sculpture, text, video, and performance. The exhibition is on view from November 18 – December 23, 2023. The opening reception is Saturday, November 18, 5 pm – 10 pm.
“Don’t be a frog in a coconut shell.” And she wasn’t. Following the words of her grandfather, a traditional healer, Suwichada Busamrong-Press left her family home when she was only 12 years old.
Returning to this fateful moment of departure, Suwichada begins the second chapter of her practice with a meditation on a long train ride that transports a young girl from her childhood in rural Northeast Thailand through drifting urban architectures. A world made entirely of leaps and broken coconut shells. Gathering pieces of familiar strangers and living ghosts, she remembers how she found a long way home.
Moving between abstraction and figuration with paintings, ceramics, sculptures, texts, and performances, the exhibition is autobiographically articulated through subtle narrative traces and ancestral rituals, as well as particular pigments and materials. She finds her tracks: marigold powder, with both the flower and the (bright yellow) color being symbolically important throughout Thailand; stitched and stretched cotton cloth, a humble material similar to what her mother—and other women—would make and wear; and, turmeric, another symbolically charged golden color, but also one of the most powerful medicines used by her grandfather. Tradition, memory, and medicine are simultaneously transformed, recorded, and performed along shifts of light, time, and body. Each work flickers between memory and present reflections—through pain, desire, rapture, and realization. Flowing from a filmic reel of personal imagery, her works flow like streaming visions of a world viewed from the fleeting peeks of a passing train.
Following the figure of “the young girl from the Northeast” through marigold-colored memories, Suwichada’s practice flows in cycles of past, present, and future, remembering the aesthetic influences of her time in Thailand—color, Buddhism, story-telling, medicine (food)—through experimental forms and displacements of traditional objects or rituals. Her ceramics, traditional vessels used to make fermented fish (Pla-ra) in the Northeast region of Thailand where she grew up, transform a traditional craft (and a tool of labor) into a mysterious object of reverence. Despite fermented fish (Pla-ra) being a crucial product across Thailand, people from this rural region—and particularly fish-sauce producers—are often degraded because of the smell associated with this form of work (and the workers): a symptom of the historical, political, and social marginalization of this region of Thailand. She replies with a revelation…. Along the rim of a jug emerge the horizons of an entire world.
“My work evokes a passage through a long journey to find myself. Each piece is born from a reverence for my ancestors and the simple beautiful life with nature they cultivated. Through a combination of abstract forms, I explore how traditional cultures and values connect to new ideas of modern living. I am influenced by my Northeast Thai roots and the vibrant colors of my dialect culture, emphasizing spontaneity while also connecting to the emotive quality of each form. I hope that these stories can be experienced in a way that reminds us of the subtleties and nuances of our history.”
November 18 – December 23, 2023
Saturday, November 18 | 5 pm – 10 pm
Reisig and Taylor Contemporary
2680 S. La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
+ 1 (323) 819-7990
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Suwichada Busamrong-Press (b. 1975 in Khonkean, Thailand) is a Thai-American artist based in Los Angeles, California. She is an interdisciplinary artist who begins by recalling her memories in writings and transfers them into paintings, sculpture, and performance. Suwichada earned her B.F.A. in interior design and fiber from the College for Creative Studies and her M.Arch. in architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art (both in Detroit). She received her M.F.A. from Otis College of Art and Design in 2023. Her work has been presented in various group shows around the country, including Detroit, New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
(text & photo courtesy of Suwichada Busamrong-Press & Reisig and Taylor Contemporary)