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XEM Design Show at La Galerie

By: Marc Pollack Posted: February-18-2008 in
Marc Pollack

XEM Design has opened a new gallery called La Galerie on Street 178 next to Le Deli. They propose to mix design and fine art into one very nice space. The first show is, as you would expect, part design and part visual art.

EMRiem, a graduate of the Royal University of Fine Art, shows why he is one of Phnom Penh's up and coming young artists. There is no doubt that he has an exceptional feel for two dimensions. His virtuosity with imagery is clearly displayed through his three groups of paintings.

XEM Design has opened a new gallery called La Galerie on Street 178 next to Le Deli. They propose to mix design and fine art into one very nice space. The first show is, as you would expect, part design and part visual art.

EMRiem, a graduate of the Royal University of Fine Art, shows why he is one of Phnom Penh's up and coming young artists. There is no doubt that he has an exceptional feel for two dimensions. His virtuosity with imagery is clearly displayed through his three groups of paintings.
Riem shows three distinct styles and as a young artist appears to be searching for his true voice

The most intriguing group is painted on very loosely woven fabric in black and white. They are portraits of Tuol Slang inmates. These loaded images, that are always evocative, are equally so when taken out of the context of the museum or a book. Riem seems to recreate the surface of an old photograph. The fabric support creates a sense of floating or mystery. An outsider would not know they were KR victims. They are strong but not scary images.

His paintings from 2005 are abstract with pieces of cardboard, barbed wire and fabric attached to the surface. They have large areas of primary colors, yellow, red and black, splashed onto the canvas and they present a bold image that represents emotion. They are diametrically opposed to his next group of paintings: large-format photo-realist horned animals and an old woman with her hands clasped. These paintings are easier to understand, but feel a bit stiff.

EMRiem also has furniture and ceramics on display. The delicate ceramics appear to be decomposing, bent and broken. He uses earthy colors and even his whites are muted.

Riem shows three distinct styles and as a young artist appears to be searching for his true voice. He will find it very soon, and when that happens, he will become one of the first artists to really "breakout" on the contemporary scene. Us lucky few will be able to say we saw his work when he was relatively unknown.

XEM is also showing the work of OUK Socheathy. Mr. Ouk is a professor at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and well known on the local scene for his ceramics.

EM Riem and OUK Socheathy
at La Galerie,
by XEM Design
Street 178

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