Inspired by Taoist philosophy and a search for the truth of nature, Ithipol Thangchalok has spent more than 30 years experimenting with the abstract creative impulse.

Ithipol's conviction, that only abstract art can express the "true aesthetic experience of the universe", is built on lessons in the Taoist scriptures of ancient China which advise: "It is not important for a tree to look like a tree. It is important for the artist to capture the essence of the tree in his work. Not to reproduce the surface of things as the eyes perceive them, but to convey his direct spiritual experience of nature in order to express what is true."

Ithipol's early abstract works depicted life and urban environment, but in his new series of paintings "Color of Light", created between 1998-2000, Ithipol ventures in the realm of semi-abstract, inspired more by nature and tradition; the temples of Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand, in particular. This move reflects his current desire to return to his roots and rediscover what is common to all humanity.

Using his own original technique, Ithipol scratches out wavy patterns to reveal a multi-colored surface beneath, using comb-like tool to remove top layers of paint. Scraping and scratching at the oils on wood or paper, this dedicated Thai artist searches for deeper meanings, rediscovering the very essence of things while carving his distinct style. He works quickly while the paint is still wet and no preliminary drawings are required. Decisive and instinctive strokes are made while in intense concentration.

In Ithipol's works, we can recognize natural forms of leaves, trees, branches and water, but some of the extraneous details are removed; others are magnified. The result is clean, flat forms, evoking reflections or silhouettes.

Light is a central concern of Ithipol's paintings. The artist values light as essential to the survival of all things on earth; pure natural energy and a basic life force which warms, nurtures and is a symbol of hope, intelligence, prosperity and the solution to our problems. Through light we know movement and change - day and night, winter and summer, and the never-ceasing cycle of the universe. Ithipol reverses the normal progression of light to dark or white to black. It is his intention "to mirror the way the first rays of the sun expel the darkness of night and reveal the shape of things they shine down on." Ithipol also plays with patterns of parallel lines that seem to move and flow, pulsing rhythmically, representing this light, vast energy and the unbending laws of nature, seasons, the solar system and opposing pairs - controlled/free, static/dynamic, light/shadow. Again, the artist turns to Taoist philosophy to explain that the inseparable relationship of these pairs expresses two sides of one essential truth.

Ithipol puts great emphasis on texture, believing that "a good work of art conveys texture and reveals its core." Color is secondary in Ithipol's art. He works with a contrasting natural palette with hues like ochre and turquoise, blues and greens, alongside black for strength.

Ithipol's artworks are sometimes divided vertically by pale bands of horizontal lines and he incorporates in his paintings a modern version of the fine-lined style of Thai folk art (ra-la-iad).

After gaining his undergraduate degree in graphic arts in 1970, Ithipol focused on abstract prints and won gold medals in the National Exhibitions of Art in 1971 and 1972. During 1973 to 1975 in Seattle, his emphasis moved to painting. Beginning in 1985, Ithipol found greater inspiration from traditional Thai art and culture and history. His work became more delicate and rich with complex detail. Returning to prints in 1985, architectural facets entered his work as he was inspired by the drawings in old murals and adapted them into his work by tracing their designs.

Ithipol gained widespread acclaim for his giant murals "Legend of Eternal Fire and Water" at the Siam Commercial Bank Head Office and currently works as an instructor at Silpakorn University in Bangkok.