Jiab Prachakul Joins Timothy Taylor
November 15, 2022
Timothy Taylor announces the representation of Jiab Prachakul. The artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery will take place in New York in May 2023. Prachakul will continue to be represented by the San Francisco-based gallery Micki Meng (formerly Friends Indeed).
Jiab Prachakul paints friends and family in contemporary settings such as cafes, streets or studio apartments, revealing the everyday reality of human relations today. Her works depict artists, music composers, technology consultants, florists and designers in the simple moments of enjoying life—sipping wine, playing guitar, interacting with nature. Prachakul memorialises fleeting experiences in dense, tiny brushstrokes to lifelike effect, painting subtle details that offer clues about her subjects’ lives. Rich chiaroscuro offers sharp contrasts between light and darkness, like seeing the sensory textures of life through a honey-coloured filter: Prachakul emphasises the folds in skin and clothing, the crinkle of yellow goose flowers in May, the touch of a lover’s hand. ‘It’s a person’s life or feeling that I try to unfold in each painting,’ Prachakul noted in a 2021 conversation with The New York Times.
Identity, the foreign diaspora, and the loss or gaining of home are significant to Prachakul. Her convivial gatherings and evocations of urban loneliness allude to a tradition of Western realism, yet her paintings feature the Asian faces of friends and family who now live in Europe, like Prachakul. ‘When I look at the paintings that I like, I don’t see any Asian figures that represent my generation,’ Prachakul has said, ‘I want to be included there, and since I’m a portrait artist, why not depict what is really here, who I really am and the people around me?’
Before devoting herself to painting full-time, Prachakul studied film at Thammasat University in Bangkok and worked as a casting director. In 2008, Prachakul saw a David Hockney exhibition at the National Gallery in London, inspiring her to take up painting. Self-taught, Prachakul struggled to become an artist for over ten years in Berlin before winning the prestigious BP Portrait Award at the National Gallery in London against thousands of competitors. Experience in film and casting shaped her close attention to individual features: ‘I learned to observe peoples’ faces, to seek out the right moment of expression,’ Prachakul has said of her work as a casting director. A fluid sense of media shapes her work, from treasured films by Eric Roehmer, Yusujiro Ozu and others that seep into Prachakul’s paintings: Their precise control emerges from dozens of photographs and videos taken at the scene of experience, lending her work the hyperreal quality of life in a post-social media age.
Jiab Prachakul was born in 1979 in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, and lives and works in Vannes, France. Prachakul. Her works are held in permanent collections worldwide, including the Cantor Art Center, the Walker Art Center, the ICA Miami and the Aishti Foundation.