Several Artists

004: BeChanida, Hurst, Hananuntasuk

Abstract in Bangkok

Welcome to Issue 004 of Several Artists! Just in time (somewhere) for the outer edge of 2023. In writing habits and in all else, may 2024 be a better year!

For this issue I am pleased to introduce you two three artists doing classic nonobjective abstraction, and converging on Bangkok: the Thai artists Chanida Aroonrungsi (aka BeChanida) and Somyot Hananuntasuk; and the American Trey Hurst.

Of course Asia does not lack for abstract painting, even if the current fashion is trending pop. Just think of the great masters of Chinese, Japanese and Korean abstraction. There are major bodies of work that glance only fleetingly at the Post-War Occident.

And then there are those in the East who make a distinctly Western style of abstraction, though strongly influenced – obviously, one would hope – by their native land. Bechanida and Hananuntasuk are painters of this kind, the first diving headfirst into the international Abstract Expressionist style, the second having found his way to a very “Continental” style of painting during his many years living in Bavaria.

Hurst is the opposite: coming from the heart of the modern West, his practice yields paintings with an Asian vibe, and if you saw them in a gallery in Bangkok, as I have done twice, you would not at first guess they were from a Western artist. He too is swimming against the trends, and we are the beneficiaries of that exercise.


BeChanida is what the Germans call a Quereinsteiger – she came to art after a career in travel. And once there, she quickly arrived at Abstract Expressionism as her primary style.

BeChanida A big BeChanida (sorry, I lost the title).

These are fun paintings, right? But there’s also a lot of earnestness to them, a lot of the personal, which is what we look for in the abstract. That human spark, that trace of the struggle against the perfection of the blank canvas, a struggle that marks every one of us who would seek to make a picture out of nothing but the physical paint.

BeChanida A medium-sized BeChanida (ditto).

BeChanida BeChanida installation view at MeArtsmall paintings FTW!


Trey Hurst is mostly painting (and often drawing, and sometimes weaving) a sort of flow – a meandering flow, like the rivers of Southeast Asia.

Trey Hurst Trey Hurst: Tributaries, one of several. Acrylic on canvas.

Hurst is one of the few Western artists to exhibit regularly in Bangkok, and I’m happy to see his very formal, very process-based art as a counterweight to the more “urban” fare you see at Aurum – which I also love, but…

Trey Hurst Trey Hurst: Atchafalaya 2 Acrylic on woven canvas.

The work here rewards close inspection, and viewing from different angles. Follow the lines, follow the flow.

Trey Hurst Detail of a Trey Hurst painting, with reflections.


Somyot Hananuntasuk arrived long ago in Munich as a detail-obsessed, nearly photorealist artist in the modern Thai tradition, and then, suddenly it would seem, around 1990 became a German Abstractionist, of the fully gegenstandslos variety. Since probably half my own oeuvre is in the same bucket, I approve of this choice!

Somyot Hananuntasuk Somyot Hananuntasuk: 2001 - 40. Oil on canvas, 57x70cm.

I hesitate to call Hananuntasuk an elder statesman of Thai-European abstraction, first because he’s not really that old; second because he’s quite youthful for someone older than your humble author; and finally because I had a chat with him once and he was not in the least bit uptight or stately. But, that having been said, he does appear to carry some weight in the local Bangkok art world.

Somyot Hananuntasuk Somyot Hananuntasuk: 2022 - 26. Oil on canvas, 40x50cm.

These shapes, these imagined worlds – are we sure there is nothing of Nonthaburi in there? It’s not for me to say, but I do suspect there is a bit of Thailand in the shape of the line, and no doubt some of Bavaria in the push of the brush.

Somyot Hananuntasuk Somyot Hananuntasuk: 2001 - 07. Oil on hardboard, 70x50cm.


I guess everybody paints on YouTube these days! Cool.


Text (c) Copyright 2023 Kevin Frost, all rights reserved.

Photographs as photographs (c) Copyright 2023 Kevin Frost, all rights reserved.

Artwork itself (c) Copyright the respective artists, all rights reserved.


I make art, and I also collect art. If I own art by any of the artists featured in the Several Artists newsletter at the time of writing, I will call that out. This may not be done retroactively; and you should keep in mind that I want to own art by every single artist I write about, and you should want to own their art too.