Laura Thipphawong
The Beast in Me

March 29 - April 28, 2018

Save Yourself  (detail), 2018, oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches  (inquire)

Save Yourself (detail), 2018, oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches (inquire)

Opening Reception: Thursday, March 29, 6:00–9:00pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, March 31, 3:00pm

Coldstream Fine Art is pleased to present The Beast in Me, an exhibition of new work by Toronto based painter Laura Thipphawong and her second show with the gallery. Informed by the late 19th century Symbolist movement, psychoanalytic theory and magical realism, Thipphawong’s surreal landscapes take the viewer through hallucinatory scenes peppered with evocative images drawn from nature and myth. At the same time, a coded narrative provides an undercurrent that encourages multiple readings of each canvas and of the series as a whole.

Motifs act as visual shorthand for a meditation on predation in human society and the psychological fallout thereof. Thipphawong engages with the nuances arising from our troubled relationship to consumption and its necessary violence, complicating our understanding of our position in the food chain—and in the spectrum of conscious beings. Established roles dissolve and mix with each other, and predators find themselves as prey, struggling to maintain themselves as subjects in a tangled cat’s cradle of hunting, chasing and submitting. Although we start off as the viewers, the paintings quickly begin to see right through us.

At the same time, the compositions are carefully arranged, bringing characters, objects and imaginaries into a delicate balance. Thipphawong’s gift is in creating tension in the stillness, hinting at rumblings immediately beneath. At any point, these arrangements that appear stable could collapse, inverting our understanding of what we know to be real and what we believe to be fantasy. The scenes confront us in this state of false comfort, imploring us to enter the world of dreams and nightmares, loosing the unrepressed surreal upon the familiar.