Saturday, April 13, 2013

Kenneth L. Kantor Reviews "Navigating the Bangkok Noir"

Complex and Powerful Modern Expressionism
On the one hand a free-form fantasy and on the other a fascinating ethnographic documentary, "Navigating the Bangkok Noir," is a powerful work. 
With its haunting, ghost-like figures and its chaotic, yet desolate, landscapes, Coles' work has become one of the favorites in my collection. This is a rich and compelling effort that I find myself drawn into again and again. Each time, something new and unexpected is revealed. It is rare to find an artist who combines such a skilled and playful sense of aesthetics with an unblinking eye for the turbulence which lies hidden just below the surface of a smile. Observing the paintings, I find myself sometimes forced to look away... to mitigate their intensity or to reassure myself that I am safe in the comfort of my own world.

Rooted in the Expressionism of the early 20th century, Coles' work employs deceptively simple imagery to illuminate complex emotional moments. Coles himself stands outside of any particular epoch; his images are simultaneously quite modern and intensely primitive. In spite of, or perhaps because of the decision to work in a social context alien to his primary audience, he manages to speak strongly to universal human feelings like alienation, hope, fear and desire.

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