It’s hard to work out exactly what expression the characters in painter Aranya Khunchawattichai’s paintings are wearing – and that’s much of their power. Atmospheric and inscrutable, her work hints at a dark temperament, an inner sadness.
During her career, this mid-career artist, who ranked second in the 2001 Young Artist Award of Thailand, has created three series, all of which touch on this theme and have an eerie, almost world-weary quality. The first was about kids and featured a fairly bright colour palette; the second was about woman and beauty. Or, rather, woman and the beautiful sort of sadness they are capable of. This series also introduces a common rope in her work, the use of dolls, and Aranya’s penchant for antique-style clothing (she previously did a two-year stint as a fashion designer). The third is a continuation of the style of series two, but is painted using oils rather than acrylics and has a softer tone.
After finding inspiration by flicking through fashion magazines, Aranya sketches her work on canvas and then adds colour.