Experience Buddhist Folklore at the Overbrook Gallery

Nagas-1The Bay Window (Muskegon Community College)
February 14, 2015
by Gary Simmons

The art exhibit that I went to was the “NAGAS An Exhibition of 3-D Prints”, which has 3-D printed sculptures by Thai artist Saritdikhun Somasa. His artwork mainly focuses on Buddhism, and the themes that surround the religion. The characters depicted in these artworks are all from Buddhist mythology, and are scenes from various stories.

All of the art displayed here are 3-D printed sculptures, with several computer graphic printouts hanging on the walls. The sculptures depict a story about a mythological creature known as a “naga”, which is a being that takes the form of a snake. The sculptures are paired with several inkjet images.

All of the artworks displayed here are blue, and these sculptures have a blocky, triangular texture that hints at a digital origin of the sculptures. The sculptures also have a very bright color scheme that contrasts strongly with the lights in the room, so that the shadows that the sculptures cast would be very dark compared to the sculptures themselves. This gives the sculptures a very “computer-generated” look, as if they are digital models somehow brought into the real world.

The artist is not only trying to depict images from his culture, he is also trying to show how modern technology can still be used to create traditional styles of art. These sculptures were first designed on a computer with 3-D modeling software, and he then used 3-D printers to print out the elements that he needed to assemble these pieces. On some of the pieces, you can see geometric polygons that suggest a digital origin of the artwork.

The artwork that I focused on during my visit was “Pang Nak Prok: Muchalin Serpent King” (2015). This sculpture depicts a character from Buddhist mythology, the Serpent King, sitting on the coils o a large snake. This sculpture is blue, and has several dominant elements. The snake coils are covered with triangular scales, and the head is made up of blocky polygons, which again shows that this sculpture is a virtual creation.

These artworks have inspired me to learn more about Thai culture because of the unique way that the artwork presets Buddhist folklore. These artworks have also inspired me to take a closer look at the process of 3-D printing. The way that these sculptures have been created along with the traditional subject matter, make for a unique fusion of two very different concepts.

I think that these artworks, overall, are interesting because of the way it combines modern technology with ancient customs. These pieces suggest that traditional beliefs can coexist with modern society.

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