Brian Mertens in Art Asia Pacific:
Since her first solo show in 2008, Imhathai Suwatthanasilp has developed a signature mode of production using human hair, often her own, which she weaves, crochets, embroiders or laces into quiet, intimate two and three-dimensional works that reflect on the nature of familial ties, domestic life, the female body and feminine identity.
Her recent solo exhibition at Bangkok’s Numthong Gallery, entitled “Rebirth,” featured 17 works, including sculptures, two-dimensional textile-based constructions and drawings, many of which incorporate materials such as shells, stones, wire coat-hangers and terra cotta, in addition to real and synthetic hair. Most of these pieces explore her bittersweet feelings about changes in the life of her family, after she and each of her three sisters, including her twin, moved out of their longtime home to marry or live with a partner—hence the show’s Thai title, “Ok-Reuan,” which translates to “leaving the nest.” A mixed-media piece titled Four Crowns (2014), featuring synthetic hair laced over four blown-glass objects shaped like pelvic bones, refers to Imhathai and her siblings at the time of their transition to married life. The hair is colored red, a reference to the association between this color and matrimony in Chinese tradition.