Inspired by an iconic Khmer garment, this mesmerizing “woven” collection of abstract paintings will infuse the Rosewood Phnom Penh Art Gallery with color, texture and Cambodian pride next month.

As proud supporters of Cambodia’s thriving local art scene, Rosewood Phnom Penh is honored to announce the debut of its latest art exhibition “The Ontology of Form and Color” by celebrated Cambodian artist Pen Robit, this February.

Born in Battambang in 1991, Robit graduated from the esteemed non-profit art academy, Phare Ponleu Selpak School of Visual and Applied Arts, and has exhibited his sociopolitical work in galleries in Australia, Canada, France, and across Southeast Asia.

On display at the Rosewood Phnom Penh Art Gallery from February 1 to April 30, 2022, the three-month-long exhibition will showcase a striking collection of 21 paintings – each referencing by the vibrant hues and woven texture of the krama, a traditional Khmer checkered scarf.

Using a painstaking drip method introduced by abstract expressionist icon Jackson Pollock, Robit has meticulously “threaded” oil and enamel to produce visually rich works that explore themes of landscapes, urbanization, development, and heritage.

“This juxtaposition of the local and global invokes the dualistic conception, if not a binary system, in Robit’s creative practice: of positive and negative, of life and death, of beauty and ugly, of power and weakness, of real and imaginary, and of utopia and dystopia,” reads the artist’s curatorial statement.

Robit conceptualized and produced “The Ontology of Form and Color” during a three-month art residency at Silapak Trotchaek Pneik in Phnom Penh. Alternative art space and gallery where accomplished art curator, writer, and art history lecturer Reaksmey Yean is the program director of Silapak Trotchaek Pneik opened in 2021 and strives to become the country’s premier destination for contemporary art. By “weaving” together organic shapes and urban motifs, Robit’s arresting canvases feel like a meditation on patience, balance, and control.

Daniel Simon, Managing Director of Rosewood Phnom Penh said, “We’re delighted to host the debut of this extraordinary new exhibition, which reimagines a quintessential symbol of Khmer identity”.  

He added, “Pen Robit’s artistic vision is a testament to Cambodia’s talent and creativity, and it’s an honor to support this stirring exploration of heritage and modernity”.

The Ontology of Form and Color’ will be open to the public from February 1 to April 30, 2022, at the Rosewood Phnom Penh Art Gallery, located on the hotel’s 35th floor. Free access 24 hours daily.

Photo by: Supplied