Filed under: art conversation | Tags: မြင့်စံမြင့်, Burmese artist, burmese painter, myanmar artist, myanmar painter, myint san myint, nance cunningham, silkscreen
Saya Myint San Myint last exhibited in Pansodan in January 2012; before that he was part of the portrait show in January 2011. Typically large, with strong colours and many layers, his portraits are a combination of faithfully rendered faces and words which may reflect on or illustrate the subject.
Myint San Myint came to his original painting style slowly. In fact, he first studied physics, and worked as a teacher for eleven years, drawing and painting as a hobby. Eventually he decided to learn more systematically, and now he calls U Thein Han his most important teacher.
When he began to sell his paintings, he painted in a realistic style, as he had been taught, and looked to the market for his subjects of ‘grandfathers and grandmothers’, the typical fare of wrinkly faces served up in the cheap paintings stalls. The pay was not particularly good, and he grew bored of this, and as his family had a silkscreen business, he began experimenting with silkscreen as a medium. Gradually he moved to different media and styles, but he still enjoys working with silkscreen. ‘The silkscreen paintings come into being quickly, in just a few days. The acrylics take a lot more thought and care.’
In 2010 he began a series of paintings of movie stars, combining their portraits with movie poster text. Less famous subjects include thanakha-wearing women, and a mute neighbour, who is paired with a stringless guitar.
The overall impression continually shifts the observer’s attention around the painting, from nearly obscured deeper layers to pictures seeming to lay on top of them, and around the angles.
‘It is hard to explain the value of art to those who do not already understand it,’ he says, and points out that young people could benefit from more exposure to art. ‘It improves the mind and concentration.’
He would like people to look at more paintings, and suggests that a way to a greater general interest in art is by working more closely with mass media. Now it is common to spend time watching Korean drama serials, he points out, and so people have become interested in various aspects of them. If documentaries about art and artists were shown on tv, the audience would become more and more interested in art, too.
For his part, he is commenting on the mass media, with his shades of advertisements, headlines, and posters. The touch of these immediate familiar elements, which were created for a temporary use brings a certain unsentimental reality to his works. However, one can already imagine how they will look different in the future, as does a ticket found decades later in grandfather’s old coat pocket.
Based on an interview with Nance Cunningham on 1 Jan 11. For more art conversations, click on the ‘art conversation’ tag at the top of this post.
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