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Chhim Sothy’s new exhibit of absract art opened last night.
Chhim Sothy’s new exhibit of absract art opened last night. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

Painted emotions between man and nature

Between the abstract lines and sometimes vivid, sometimes sombre colours, the shapes of bodies locked in an embrace emerge from the canvas. In others, you see the silhouette of a Cambodian village shrouded in a haze or a storm.

The theme that unites them is “the interaction of man and the natural world”, says contemporary artist Chhim Sothy. His latest exhibition, Nature, which opened last night at Cloud, features 16 abstract and semi-abstract oil paintings on canvas.

“In some, it’s nearly figurative-abstract, you can see characters emerge,” he says.

Post Weekend caught up with the Royal University of Fine Arts graduate earlier this week as he was setting up his display. As he scanned the room, his paintings placed along the walls in a tentative sequence, he explained his vision.

“We have grown with nature as a society, and there’s emotion in that . . . we have destroyed, and we have worked with nature,” he says excitedly.

“In some, we see the dry season, and the cycle of the climate and the cycle of birth and death,” he continues.

One canvas, with bright tones, clearly shows the shapes of lotus flowers. “These are blossoming,” he says. The adjacent canvas has more muted pastel colours, the lotuses there are wilting.

Through his abstract style, Sothy says he’s trying to tap into a deeper emotion, capturing not just tempests of nature but the storm of emotion surrounding human interaction with it.

“With climate change, deforestation, we are destroying the world,” he says, adding that people too often take nature for granted. “We complain that the weather is bad, it’s too hot, it’s cool, but we could coexist with nature and it would be to our benefit.”

Nature by Chhim Sothy launched last night at Cloud, #32 Street 9, and runs through February 1, 2017.

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