Without intension


Without intension on 21 July – 4 August 2023 Satrting 18.00 at Baan Tuek Art Center

Without intension

on 21 July – 4 August 2023 Satrting 18.00

at Baan Tuek Art Center

(without intension)
Artist: Christopher Stern
Exhibition Period: July 17th – August 8th, 2023
Opening Reception: July 21st, 2023
At Baan Tuek Art Center
Written by Piyathida Inta

‘Generally in society, if you want to express something – the standard is that you have to know something. The strange thing about an artist’s job is – that you don’t have to know anything’ (Tal R, 2017)
Christopher Stern’s solo exhibition, ‘(without intension),’ delves into the intriguing possibilities of producing art without intent and/or tension. His practice establishes profound connections between thought, feeling and mind, unraveling new layers of meaning across his three series of works. (without intension) allows the audience to explore the absence of, and interplay between intention and tension, which communicates seamlessly within the visionary framework of Jean Dubuffet’s Anti-cultural Positions. This exhibition presents a fresh and thought-provoking perspective, arising from the artist’s state of not knowing and an unpredictability of thoughts. The artist combines and utilizes techniques of painting and meticulous work process relating to his psychological experiences of seeking comfort and release from the confinements of artistic conventions.
Not knowing, creating without tension, without intention, and without predictable outcomes, is presented through the exhibition (without intension). These works demonstrate to the audience the artist’s journey through the materials and subjects that he explores. It begins with the artist’s profound innocence and complexity, depicted through vibrant oil pastel and acrylic paintings, which are similar to paint-by-numbers, as in the series “we are all people (2020-23).” The artist advances his work to abstract paintings that gradually unveil the layers of meaning with delicately accumulated effort in “odds & ends (2020-23).” In this series, the artist selects darker shades of colors and paints textures more heavily to create an emotional weight showing an acceptance of uncertainty.
The artist develops the exploration through the sculpture series “GOING WITHOUT LOOKING” (2021-23), which is uniquely crafted from steel and concrete . Through this abstract sculpture, the artist explores the condition of human imperfections and instability. Every piece of artwork in (without intension) exhibition is a path built up by through the artist’s absence of ideas and intention throughout his art practice. Ultimately, this exhibition becomes a significant extension in the artist’s pursuit of meaning beyond conventions.

About The Artist
Christopher Stern
Currently based in Chiang Mai for over ten years, Christopher Stern was born in California, USA, in 1966, and has lived in Southeast Asia (Bali and Chiang Mai) since 1998. In his early life he perceived that an arts education or formal arts practice as something not on offer, and subsequently he circled around it, working in education, design, and as a gallerist, before beginning his own formal arts practice in his mid-forties. Since 2013 he has held multiple solo and group exhibitions, both in Thailand and Indonesia. He is represented in Indonesia by Maansuk Gallery, and his work appears in private collections in Spain, Portugal, Indonesia, India, Japan, The Emirates, the US, Thailand and elsewhere. In 2016 he was invited to hold a solo exhibition, “Self-portraits of Others”, at Gallery Seescape, Chiang Mai, listed as one of the top seven galleries in Thailand. In 2018 he was commissioned to make work appearing in Barceló Imagine Hotel, Madrid.
His practice explores figuration, portraiture and abstraction in two and three dimensional media. Enrolled in the MFA program at Chiang Mai University, he has been forced under duress to claim a concept, whereas his work is not conceptual. He insists that his work is about nothing in particular, aside from his own internal state, offering meaning only after its completion. He doesn’t mind if academic and institutional art practices see that as being without depth.
He is particularly drawn to portraying faces, through which it is his preference to communicate internal states that are positive, beneficial, humorous or otherwise conducive of internal harmony. He is drawn to abstraction for the opportunity it provides to make work in non-linear and even impulsive ways, and to convey positivity, balance and harmony, free of reliance on other humans and the particularity of facial expressions.
His practice is centered on spontaneity, working in the moment, and focused on finding satisfaction in the process. It is this focus on working from a place of not knowing, finding happiness in the process, and discovering meaning in the outcome that unites the work in his upcoming exhibition, “(without intension)”, which represents the culmination of his university experience.

The Location : Baan Tuek Art Center