SAN FRANCISCO — Jiab Prachakul: 14 Years at Friends Indeed Gallery is a celebration of the journeys we take to find comfort and move homeward. The eight paintings on view are portraits of Prachakul’s friends and acquaintances who, like the artist, are part of the Asian diaspora.
“I’m curious about my subjects, their life, how they move their body when I speak to them,” said Prachakul in an email to Hyperallergic. “I try to seek their special aura, nearly like falling in love, a platonic love. That’s the way I could share my empathy with them as a person, as a human being.”
Prachakul was born in Thailand and worked as a casting director in the Bangkok film industry before moving to London 14 years ago for a long holiday from work. During the two years she lived in London, she visited a David Hockney retrospective and, upon seeing his iconic 1971 “Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy” portrait, was moved to pursue painting — an activity that had previously been little more than a pastime.
“It was as if someone turned on a light and for a split second, the dots connected,” Prachakul said over email. “I knew I wanted to be an artist. Seeing that painting, and the rest of the show, I understood how an artist develops and the hard work that goes into that development. The process is something to cherish.”
Since then, she has become known for her self-taught style, and just last year won the prestigious BP Portrait Award from the National Portrait Gallery.
There is a strong sense of light in her work, fitting given her past in the film industry. Light seems almost viscous, binding her figures to their environment while emphasizing their separateness, their lonesomeness.
Prachakul said, “I like to think of my artwork as an unmoving film, a memoir of a certain moment, where the past and the future of that moment can be felt in the painting.”
Jiab Prachakul: 14 Years opens on February 1 with Friends Indeed Gallery at Four One Nine (419 Tenth Street, San Francisco) and continues through April 30.
The close, careful, and subtle observation I found this year is representative of precisely why I continue to gravitate to this fair.
How do we counter stereotypes about Black mothers, while stressing the importance of memory, determination, love, and corporeality?
An expansive exhibition on Adeliza McHugh’s influential Candy Store Gallery celebrates the whimsical, irreverent aesthetic that put California’s Sacramento Valley on the art-historical map.
With two stellar retrospectives, one time-based installation, and several commissions by local artists, the Phillips Collection has dedicated its galleries to highlighting abstract work by Black artists.
As we begin a new year, a small moment on Queer Eye makes me think about the profound effect our stories can have on each other.
Each fellow in this 10-month intensive in New Haven, Connecticut, will receive studio or office space, subsidized housing, and a generous stipend.
Some have criticized the racist monument’s planned relocation to North Dakota, near land seized from Indigenous people.
A group called the Boriken Libertarian Forces toppled the monument hours before King Felipe VI of Spain’s visit.
Graduate students in the University of Denver’s Emergent Digital Practices program work on research with faculty who are engaged directly with their communities, both online and off.
Still resonating with relevance, William Gropper’s incisive cartoons in defense of the WPA go on auction at New York’s Swann Galleries together with other works by celebrated WPA artists.
Archeologists excavating in Nijmegen, the Netherland’s oldest city, found the bowl in pristine condition.
A pioneer of street photography, Levitt worked in the most crowded and poorest neighborhoods of New York searching for the theater of everyday life.