They captivated me immediately, these blackened, flaked, seemingly battered pieces from Roderico Jose Daroy. They reminded me of photos salvaged from our office after Typhoon Ondoy had wreaked its havoc. We lined them up on the driveway to bake under the sun. They curled up and cracked, and never looked the same again.
There’s something fascinating about these weathered images that Dick Daroy has put
on the walls of The Drawing Room for his exhibit, and of time. He framed them in metal, embellished and duly ornate, or in dark wood, classic and severe, bestowing elegance and stateliness to his murky, smeared collages and drawings. Mr. Daroy creates from photos, prints, paper objects that catch his eye. He loves to accumulate things from his travels, and collects reproductions from old books and magazines. He never hurries his process. He lives with his images for weeks, or months, or years, however long it takes for them to feel complete. He sticks them up on the walls of his studio and gets to know them, and only then does he work on them. When you see his pieces up close, you realize that they cannot be rushed, he can use no shortcuts. Each piece is made up of layers, each process adding another coating, another tale, that transforms the original.
The exhibit carries 36 of these framed works in the main gallery. A few more hang in the secondary space, The Drawing Room’s office. For one of his pieces, Mr. Daroy used a portrait by Nazi photographer Leni Riefenstall and worked on it in his kitchen, where he prepares his family’s meals. He ran over the piece with a burnt pot, until it turned dark and viscous, with only traces of the original image discernible from underneath. Another has been drawn over with squid ink, while others have been exposed to the elements. He put together a collage 25 years ago, in 1985, but had not found the perfect frame for it until this year. He mounted this beneath glass that harbored a colony of termites, and let nature take its course. A suite of 16 pieces hang on the gallery’s main wall, all of them identical in size. These are damaged photographs from a trip to Vigan, crackled and frayed, worked over with charcoal. The figures have not been obliterated, just transmuted into
I had never seen Mr. Daroy’s work before. His last exhibit was eight years ago, before he embarked on a nomadic life, traveling Asia with his wife. I had a nice chat with him over the phone about this show. To learn more about him, I turned to Jose Tence Ruiz, Mr. Daroy’s fellow artist and colleague, also a fount of information on the local art scene. Bogie sent me an article written by Reuben Ramas Cañete, Fade To Black, published 1999 in transit magazine. And from this I quote:
“Dick Daroy’s pieces takes time to get used to—both on the conceptual and material level. Art dealers will no doubt shake their heads at the viability of preserving and selling works that are predestined to self destruct before one’s very eyes….and this perception is perhaps one reason Daroy’s works are seldom seen outside the museum circuit. They require a power of utmost concentration and meditation to search for the sudden flash of insight so popular among Zen practitioners, and this itself is the reward that the few courageous collectors of Daroy reap. Beyond the blandly commercial consideration of owning a work long enough to dispose of it to the next highest bidder, Daroy’s work speaks of facing up to the inevitability of death; of accepting the fading of life from light to black.”
and of time runs from 21 August to 11 September 2010 at The Drawing Room Contemporary Art, 1007 Metropolitan Avenue, Metrostar Building, Makati City. Phone (632)897-7877 or visit http://www.drawingroomgallery.com