PanSuriya Art Post

Scene : Live Cartooning
20 February 2014, 13:48
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Live Cartooning at Pansodan Scene

This Saturday, 22 February 2014, at Pansodan Scene. Including Malte Jehmlich’s cartooning machine.

Yangon Photo Festival comes to Pansodan
3 February 2014, 14:06
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Melissa Finkenbiner: Last Compositions
22 January 2014, 18:23
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Melissa Finkenbiner: Man

Melissa Finkenbiner: Man

Many of Melissa Finkenbiner’s oil paintings are about the touch of the profound to the mundane. Striving to bring out how ones identity can be gained or lost in a moment and wanting to make the subjects of her paintings universal, she realised that not only clothing, but even hair identified people as being from a particular time and place. Since then she has frequently painted people without hair. Two years ago she arrived in Yangon, where she realised that this concept had already been put into effect for many centuries.

She has explored more deeply in this direction while living in Yangon by letting the sights, ideas, mythology and visual language influence her work. Some works, like the monk in Sleeping and Dying, draw closely and clearly on her observations. In this work, the awkward position of the monk lying not far from a reclining Buddha makes the viewer unsure whether he is sleeping or dead. This leads the thoughts to the life of a monk, who has given up the possessions and family which loom so large in most lives. In fact, Melissa points out, when we die, all that remains are our acts and deeds. The monks are living that out now, but it is true for us all once we are dead. Other works are homages to works of old masters such as Parmigianino and Caravaggio. Her painting ‘The Chinthei and his Son’, for example, draws on Caravaggio’s ‘The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist’ but reading the mistaken killing of the chinthe by his son through the famous painting of the wrongful execution of St John. Ideas of transformation — from ignorance to knowledge, from working to creating, from rage to peace, from life to death — predominate in many of the paintings.  Melissa Finkenbiner came to Pansodan Gallery on 21 January 2014 to talk about her work and her upcoming exhibition at Pansodan Scene.

What are your main artistic influences?

Caravaggio Beheading of St John the Baptist

Caravaggio Beheading of St John the Baptist

Finkenbiner Chinthei

Finkenbiner The Chinthei and his Son

Artemisia Gentileschi, Tomasz Rut, Caravaggio, and Michael Buesking are the core ones I always come back to. My style reminds some people of mannerists, and the end of the Baroque period. Even though I love art from every movement, that’s a movement that I go back to because it has this art that is partly based on what you see in reality, but also on an ideal. For me, I don’t see the point of painting exactly what’s in a photograph. Why is seeing somebody sleeping in a monastery interesting? My art is about taking what you can’t see in a photograph and changing the balance, the colours, bringing out the ideas. It’s about making something mundane seem monumental, getting those thoughts across.

What impact do you hope this exhibition might have on the Burmese art community?

Melissa Finkenbiner: Sleeping and Dying

Melissa Finkenbiner: Sleeping and Dying

Melissa Finkenbiner: Sleeping and DyingI was a bit worried about that at first. [Founder of Nawaday Thalar Gallery] Pyay Way said he had never seen a monk painted sleeping, though is how you always see the monks. It is closer to reality than a painting of monks walking into the sunset.  It is unique but still grounded in what is Myanmar. When people look at my pieces they can tell exactly where I painted them.  These are Myanmar.

How does your interest in mythology shape your artistic ambitions?

Sometimes I think mythological stories tell more truth than other narratives. Mythology tells the stories of how people react to the situations they are in and reflect universal truths about human nature.  However, mythological stories also contain characteristics and themes that are unique to the cultures from which they are derived.   The myth of the Chinthe was a beautiful story and one that is very much a part of Myanmar. However, you could compare the myth of the Chinthe to Western mythology and find many of the same story elements. It is a beautiful thing.

Melissa Finkenbiner studied art at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, USA. She has been living in Yangon for two years. Her exhibition Last Compositions, can be seen 25 January – 2 February at Pansodan Scene, 144 Pansodan, Second Floor, Middle Block, Kyauktada, Yangon. Her website is

Interview by Nance Cunningham and Kirt Mausert

Subsuming Chaos: Balance, Order in Candacee White’s First Solo Show
25 March 2013, 16:02
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“I decide whether I want it to be
smooth, fluid, sharp.
But it creates itself,
I’m just along to help out.” 

Candacee White 25 lorez

Candacee White is about to have her first independent exhibition, at Pansodan Art Gallery. Candacee began to think of herself as an artist when she began painting abstracts — it was in discovering how an image or idea could remain meaningful and intense while being greatly abstracted that she gained the insight. She has been influenced by Brice Marden, among others. She explains, “I often stare at one line for a long time before I put down the next one, considering how it will relate the past and future lines, how close to the edge of the canvas, and so on. I like to let the line change, to get light, dark, thicker, thinner, which appears more natural.”Candacee White darks lorez

She tries to keep her lines alive, vibrant. “The line alone is beautiful and compelling, but I can never resist seeing the change that happens when I fill in the spaces.”

She aims to give a sense of disorder at the same time. “I seek control over the composition, even the small spaces. I enjoy repetitious detail — the painting begs for it, balancing out with the less ordered parts.”

She believes (along with Robert Rauschenberg) that all the possibilities are and limitations are within the materials themselves. “I like to try similar images on different materials, paper, cardboard, tile, canvas, with pastels, inks, paints, etc.” Once she did not have any canvas or paper at home, but had an old box which she started drawing on. She often creates pairs of warm and cool works, or larger groups with varied media.

Candacee White card twins lorez

A number of particularly unusual and lively pieces are made with stickers. This is the first time Candacee has worked with stickers. The original intention was to cut out shapes like faces, words, designs. She in fact did this before discovering that the remnants were much more interesting than the images she had cut out. Most of the deliberate images are now gathering dust, while the scraps have been composed on long strips of paper, much more beautiful and intriguing than what she had first intended to make. The mind continually plays with the shapes and colours, shifting between the overall balance, the whitespace, the coloured shapes, and one’s own imagination.

All of Candacee’s works bring in the viewer as a participant in her art. The balance and order has to be created between the observer and the picture as well,

Candacee White 13

and the pictures take a while to settle into place in the mind. As the eyes wander around the new bit of landscape she has made for them, exploratory impulses arise.

We will indulge these impulses at the gallery with a supply of stickers and scissors, and the walls of our staircase. Come and leave your mark, balancing or imbalancing. Candacee White’s exhibition will run from 29 March to 3 April at Pansodan Art Gallery, from 10:00 – 6:00; the pictures will be up all day on Friday, 29 March, and a reception will begin at 6pm. On that evening we also have a jam session with US bluegrass band Horseshoe Road on the roof, starting at 5:30. Bring your instrument or voice, or just your ears.

On Tuesday 2 April, we will be open very late.

Bagyi Aung Soe would be 90
21 March 2013, 18:08
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Bagyi Aung Soe has been called the country’s most wayward painter. Hanging the Bagyi Aung Soe exhibition at Pansodan

While there is ongoing competition for that title, he may still be the top. His influence is still felt strongly today. In this exhibition, we have some of his original works, portraits of him, paintings in homage to him, and others showing his legacy.

From 22-25 March 2013 at Pansodan Art Gallery, 286 Pansodan, first floor (upper block) Kyauktada, Yangon.

Highly original, fond of mixing text in his paintings, controversial in his day but recognised by later generations. A short exhibition of a long legacy.

Bagyi Aung Soe 1 Bagyi Aung Soe 2 Bagyi Aung Soe 3 Bagyi Aung Soe 4 Bagyi Aung Soe 5 Bagyi Aung Soe 6 Bagyi Aung Soe 7

World Poetry Day — Don’t be Alone
21 March 2013, 01:10
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Wondering what to do on World Poetry Day? Well, you probably want to reserve some time to read or write verse, but on 21–23 March 2013 we will have poetry events at our new space, 144 Pansodan, provisionally called the Tropic of Pansodan. The programme runs from ten to noon every day, leaving your afternoons free for independent poetic activities. It will be entirely in Burmese, but true poets will understand any language. See below for details.

ကဗျာရေးသူများ၊ ကဗျာဖတ်သူများ၊ ကဗျာကို ချစ်မြတ်နိုးသူအားလုံး တစ်နှစ်တစ်ခါ ဆုံဆည်ရာ ကမ္ဘာ့ကဗျာနေ့ အခါသမယကို ၂၀၁၃ ခုနှစ်အတွက် မတ် ၂၁မှ မတ် ၂၃ ရက်အထိ၊ နံနက်တိုင်း ၁၀နာရီက ၁၂နာရီအထိ၊ ပန်းဆိုးတန်း ပန်းချီပြခန်း ခန်းသစ်မှာ မြန်မာနိုင်ငံကဗျာဆရာများသမဂ္ဂက ကျင်းပပါမယ်။ 144 ပန်းဆိုးတန်း​အလယ်​ဘလောက်၊ ဒုတိယထပ်။

၂၁ မတ် ။  ။ နံရံကပ်ကဗျာ အင်စတော်လေးရှင်း
ကဗျာဗေဒနှင့် ကဗျာဆရာ။
သစ္စာနီ၊ ငြိဏ်းဝေ၊ မင်းထက်မောင်
မေးမြန်းတင်ဆက်သူ မောင်လင်းရိပ်

၂၂ မတ် ။  ။ ယနေ့ မြန်မာကဗျာတအုပ် ထုတ်ဝေရေး။
စန်းဦး၊ မိုးဦးဆွေညိန်း
မေးမြန်းတင်ဆက်သူ မင်းထက်မောင်

၂၃ မတ် ။  ။ နှောင်းကဗျာစာဆိုများအမှတ်တရ ကဗျာဖတ်ပွဲ
သခင်ကိုယ်တော်မှိုင်း၊ ဇော်ဂျီ၊ မင်းသုဝဏ်၊ ငွေတာရီ၊ နုယဉ်၊ ဒေါင်းနွယ်ဆွေ၊ မောင်လေးအောင်၊ တင်မိုး၊ ကြည်အောင်၊ ညွန့်ကြူး၊ မောင်ချောနွယ်၊ ဖော်ဝေး၊ မြေချစ်သူ၊ မောင်လူမိန်၊ ဇော် (ပျဉ်းမနား)၊ မောင်ခိုင်မာ၊ လှသန်း

Bazundaung Riverside Afternoons

In this exhibition, Thu Rein is showing off two series of paintings — some are a straightforward and lovely realism, some are a fresh take which gives an impression of cubism while in fact maintaining a realist approach.

The painter Thu Rein (who sometimes signs himself Thu Rein.M, sometimes Thu Rein Sann, sometimes Thu Rein.MS) began a self-portrait, reflected in the mirror-mosaic of a pagoda wall, seven years ago (see image below). It took him many visits to pagodas, looking at mirrored tiles until he was dizzy before he got the colours, images, shapes and impression he was looking for.

This was the beginning of a series of images shown in the fragments silvery tiles which adorn many pagoda walls. In News Hunter (centre painting in this blog’s header) he depicts parts of a face reflected in a pattern of mirrors, with a camera at the centre, half-hidden behind green leaves, and with the gilded embellishments and other elements of a monastery all around and overlapping the hunter.

He travelled around the country, to Magway, Minbu, Pyinmana and many other places, where he painted whatever caught his eye reflected in the mirrored surfaces. In the painting of the brass Buddha image from Pyinmana, little other than the sheen and colour is reflected. In another, titled Two Friends (see image below), hardly any of the faces of the friends shows, subsumed by the reflections of gold, brass, and the colours of their shirts. The Faceless is another of this series, in which a fragmented person with hints of hair and hand is outdone by his surroundings.

The other series is of the twilight over the Bazundaung River, which shapes and divides the eastern side of Yangon. Views of the city from Thaketa and Thingangyun neighbourhoods, or from Bazundaung itself show the rich colours of dusk. He became entranced by the colours of the sunsets, the fiery sky reflected in the water. Many of the paintings are anchored by the Shwe Dagon, which from that side soars above the town. Another is painting in a bit of North Okkalappa, along the same waterway. In this one, the pagoda popularly called ‘Yangon Thabyinnyu’ and the bank of the river with modest huts make the scene look like a little piece of Bagan, but with a hulk of a building on the horizon where the hills might be in the ancient capital.

A few plein air pictures with other themes round out the exhibition which will be showing until 13 March 2013, at Pansodan Art Gallery, from 10-6 (open until late on Tuesday).


Interview with Nance Cunningham in Pansodan Art Gallery, 11 March 2013

Thu Rein.M Second Solo Show at Pansodan

Thu Rein.M Second Solo Show at Pansodan

Thu Rein.M solo exhibition at Pansodan

Thu Rein.M solo exhibition at Pansodan

Thu Rein.M My Self

Thu Rein.M My Self

Thu Rein.M Two Friends

Thu Rein.M Two Friends