For works influenced by comic books and cartoons, Mariano Ching’s images feel surprisingly quiet. You first notice his empty spaces, both on his acrylics
on large canvases and on his smaller paper pieces. You would expect, just as in Japanese anime novels, surfaces brimming over with forms and figures rendered in loud, bold colors. Sort of like Takashi Murakami or even Louie Cordero. Instead you get works that beckon, compelling you to look closely at the
compact images all scrunched together. Only then do you appreciate Nano’s details, so finely and minutely wrought. You wonder, as I did aloud to him, whether he paints while looking through a microscope or a magnifying glass.
His recent paintings, including those in this show, use a lot of rainbows, arcs of red, purple, green, blue, and yellow. Because of this, and of the bright colors he employs, you don’t immediately perceive how melancholic or freaky his figures are: girls with large distended heads, severed body parts, distorted faces, a pile of garbage and muck. That the show brings
us to an imaginary wasteland, a site that reels from an environmental disaster, becomes apparent only after awhile. His minimalist sensibilities, acquired from his two years as a printmaking major at the Kyoto Arts
University, seem at first in direct opposition to his preoccupation with science fiction and apocalyptic images. Yet, this dichotomy actually makes him more interesting.
I love his wall-bound sculpture, what he calls painted signages. Manufactured from metal sheets, laser cut and shaped with precision, he paints them as he would his canvases. They come out not only so well-fabricated, he has made them so distinctly his own.
Dead Ends And False Starts by Mariano Ching runs from 15 July to 8 August 2009 at SLab, 2F YMC Bldg. 2, 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City. Phone (632)816-0044 or visit http://www.slab.silverlensphoto.com