I had always been drawn to Andres Barrioquinto’s faces, especially the monochromatic ones of recent history, rendered almost flat, in tones of blue. They exhibit horrified expressions, quite compelling, as they stare out from empty sockets. He’d paint them alongside cubist patterns, remnants of an earlier series that had
become his signature. This past year, though, Andy’s paintings took on a different style. To be honest, I did not really enjoy the purely photorealstic direction his narratives had shifted to. They felt a little too familiar. We’ve seen them before from others.
In this show, The Gods of Small Things, Andy experiments yet again. I think he’s produced his best work yet. He turns to Japanese paper prints, silk screened or stenciled Chiyogami and Katazome-shi. He takes patterns based on traditional kimono designs, their bright colors and images from nature, and applies them in
detailed layers onto stylized portraits. Cranes, chrysanthemums, leaves, and swirls intermingle with unsmiling faces. His subjects look out—vacuous, sombre, forbidding—beneath ornamentation rendered repeatedly, akin to tattoos, over their visages. If his faces drew me in before, now they positively transfix. He combines the photorealistic with the graphic, decorative elements
that evoke placidity and balance fuse with the strong and disturbing. What potential for an interesting series!
For the show’s catalogue, Andy had good friend, writer Dave Lock (the subject for Realms of the Senses), compose short verses for each of the pieces on view.
The 34-year-old Andy has exhibited in more than 20 shows. He’s had his ups and downs as a painter too. He tells me that without consciously being aware of it, he’s recently found his stride. He mustered the discipline to paint everyday, keeping to a working schedule that pushes him to create as he paints. He’s discovered a love for his craft that’s made him meticulous, almost obsessive even, with all the aspects of his work, from the condition of his canvases to the final finishing touches on his pieces. He doesn’t discriminate, both small or large-scale paintings receive the same dedication and attention to detail. It certainly shows.
The Gods of Small Things runs from 17 October to 7 November 2009 at Blanc Compound, 359 Shaw Blvd, Mandaluyong. Phone (632)752-0032 or visit http://www.blanc.ph or visit htttp://www.barrioquinto.multiply.com