Ren Dillard, Blue Smoke, oil. Ren explained to DoN that he is finally finding his voice in painting, a spoken word artist (he has promised to perform at the show’s closing on 12/7), his art is about meditation, human commonality, promoting nationalism and personal pride. Dillard’s work has a defined narrative concerning urban life and cultural icons but is also searching inward to find peace through meditation, introspection and transcendental non-judgmental.
Ralph “Ren” Dillard, We Are One, oil. From hip-hop heroes like 2Pac to inner dream-scapes, Ren’s painting seems to be searching for truth, justice and the New American Way. The trans-cultural tribalism of the city and the struggle to remain calm in the face of the storm is certainly reflected in the dichotomy between thug life and the art of living well.
Ren Dillard, Ren’s Labyrinth, oil.
Vichaya “Win” Mukdamanee & Ralph “Ren” Dillard – Mysterious Lines @ Smile Gallery. The tableau of two artists from opposite sides of the world bouncing ideas back and forth with the urban pop aesthetic of Ren’s paintings and the abstract expressionism of Win’s prints is a synopsis of contemporary culture. Win’s bold, architectural black and white prints are a striking counterpoint to Ren’s wildly colorful meditations yet the conflicting styles reflect a youthful, modern perspective of the world.
Win Mukdamanee, City Element # 4, print 3 of 8.
Win Mukdamanee studied art at Suankularb Wittayalai School in Bangkok Thailand (with Smile Gallery’s owner, Ken Tutjamnong’s, former professor) and is now pursuing his Master’s degree at Pratt Institute in NYC. Primarily a sculptor, Win’s prints certainly exude an architectonic flavor yet are painterly, vibrant and fluid. Mukdamanee quickly applies ink in splashy yet controlled strokes on plastic film then runs in through a press on beautiful papers, then frames the resulting image in quiet white mats.
Vichaya “Win” Mukdamanee @ Smile Gallery, 22nd & Chestnut Streets.
Frankly, it was difficult for DoN to get good photos of Win’s work since the black under glass reflects back the photographer, all the more reason to visit Smile and contemplate the juxtaposition of styles which curator Lilliana Didovic has so capably displayed to both artists advantage.