“Man think thai lady make house clean work love somuch cook everry time smile"
A senior thesis exhibition by Pew Natthamon Wutilertcharoenwong
The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts at Princeton University will present an exhibition of web and printed materials and sculptural works that explore the intersection of the artist’s interests in formalism, materials and process and the economies of the female body by senior Pew Natthamon Wutilertcharoenwong. Entitled “Man think thai lady make house clean work love somuch cook everry time smile,” the exhibition will be on view April 21 through 25 in the Lucas Gallery at 185 Nassau Street. A reception where visitors can meet the artist will be held on April 24 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.
Wutilertcharoenwong is majoring in visual arts at Princeton through a collaborative program of the Department of Art and Archaeology and the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts, which offers students an opportunity to study art history along with courses in studio art.
The artist was born and raised in Thailand, and has seen the impact of the sex tourism trade in her country, which is technically illegal but not consistently enforced by the Thai government due to the vast amount of revenue it brings to the country’s economy, she explains.
The existence of the industry has indirectly informed the artist’s own sense of identity as a Thai female in a cross cultural context and constantly reinforced a triangulation of self-awareness—that is, how Wutilertcharoenwong sees herself, how others see her, and how she thinks others see her. The web and printed materials featured in her show explore stereotypes and fantasies about Thai women, who men seek out worldwide for both sex and marriage. By posing as a Thai woman seeking contact with men through online sites, Wutilertcharoenwong collected verbatim quotes. The many quotes she has collected will be presented in the form of a blog in the exhibition. She has also published smaller collections of these quotes in booklets titled Not for Sale that include a phone number to call with comments, which she has anonymously inserted into travel guides in locations throughout the New York City area. One of the quotes forms the title for her show.
Image by Pew Natthamon Wutilertcharoenwong
During the summer of her junior year, Wutilertcharoenwong spent six weeks in Baan Tawai Woodcarvers’ Village in the northern Thai city of Chiangmai learning traditional Thai woodcarving techniques through the Wolfen Senior Thesis Research Award. Having seen how wood is utilized in a Thai Buddhist art context, she has developed a profound relationship with and deep respect for the material. Upon returning to Princeton, the artist embarked on her thesis project by reflecting on the wood carving tradition and altering the traditional carving methods to suit her process-oriented practice. She carves, assembles and manipulates found wood into abstract forms in an attempt to explore the possibilities of abstraction as representation. Her sculptural work is where her interest in forms, materials and process, and social issues regarding the economies of the female body converge. For instance, for one of her sculptures Wutilertcharoenwong collected found, worn-out pieces of wood that were once part of shipping pallets, painstakingly polished them to restore their shine, and glossed them to create an artificial patina on the surface of the wood. The artist’s treatment of this particular sculpture is representational of how she sees Thai women treated in the sex tourism industry—that women are picked up, polished, adorned, and put on display.
The Lucas Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Photo link: https://lca.sharefile.com/d/sdc315f2da094a88b
Photo caption: Senior Pew Natthamon Wutilertcharoenwong working in her studio on one of the sculptural pieces for her exhibition
Photo credit: Photo by Brady Valashinas
April 21 - April 25, 2014
April 24, 2014 • 7:00 p.m.
10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Lewis Center for the Arts
at 185 Nassau Street
Free and open to the public
Photo by Brady Valashinas