The National Art Gallery and Richard Koh Fine Art are pleased to co-present the exhibition, Optimism is Ridiculous by leading contemporary Thai visual artist, Natee Utarit. The exhibition featured a selection of 25 artworks from the series. With the theme of Optimism is Ridiculous: Paintings on Figure of Speech, Paradoxes and Inward Journey, the series has three cognitive components, namely; paintings of human being, animals and objects. They come together as sentences or phrases that connect to a particular observation. This exhibition will present animal paintings by the artist, highlighting social contexts and other understandings of the outside world by contrasting Asian-ness against a post-colonial product-based inspiration.
Natee Utarit (b. 1970, Bangkok) studied at the College of Fine Art in 1987 and graduated in Graphic Arts at the Painting and Sculpture Faculty at Silpakorn University, both in Bangkok, Thailand in 1991. Solo exhibitions include Optimism is Ridiculous: The Altarpieces, National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesida (2017), Optimism is Ridiculous: The Altarpieces, Ayala Museum, Manila (2017), Illustration of the Crisis, Bangkok University Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand (2013), After Painting, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2010) and The Amusement of Dreams, Hope and Perfection, Art Center of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (2007). Recent group exhibitions include Thai Eye, BACC, Bangkok, Thailand and Saatchi Gallery, London, UK (2016/2015), Art of ASEAN, Bank Negara Museum and Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2015), Time of Others, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan (2015) and Asian Art Biennale 2013: Everyday Life, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan (2013).
His work is part of many renowned collections, such the Bangkok University, Bangkok, Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, as well as private collections in Europe and Asia. Utarit’s multifaceted practice focuses on the exploration of the medium of painting connecting it with photography and classical Western art. Light and perspective are some of the elements the artist chose to work with, focusing on painting as a means to explore image making. His complex pictures, juggle wide-ranging metaphors usually in the format of the traditional still life, allude to Thailand’s current social and political landscapes.