Kowit Sernklang’s charcoal paintings are so realistic with precision and accuracy that they eliminate the division between art and life. Using one of the oldest artistic mediums and forms of expression to mankind, Kowit carefully applies crushed charcoal to a cotton-wove paper with dozens of authentic Chinese brushes. Each brush has a different thickness, coarseness, texture, and durability, which together produce both grandeur and grace – the yin and yang qualities that bring black and white to life. Kowit explores these opposing forces in his paintings, balancing light and shadows, softness and strength. This involves intense concentration, which Kowit humbly imparts, is quite customary in the Orient.
Often mistaken for photographs, Kowit’s paintings are not only lifelike, but also astoundingly beautiful, enhanced with emotion that touch the human spirit. The emphasis on inner power, conveyed through the highlights of his subjects’ eyes, is achieved by erasers and is the most meaningful and inspirational aspect of his work. In fact, Kowit’s personal experience with losing loved-ones is what motivates him to find the light in his paintings. A single-father widower, Kowit lost his wife in a fatal car accident before he was 30 years old. As well, his parents died when he was a child and he has already lost the relatives that raised him. While their passing can feel overwhelming at times, Kowit finds solace in Buddhist philosophy and in painting. With each stroke, Kowit strives to celebrate life through the white light in the eyes of his subjects, always reminding himself, “When there is loss, there is light.”