What would you expect from an exhibit called Boycotter of Beauty and the Theoretical Steroid Defiled Modernist Chicken? Turning to West Gallery’s press release does not help either. To quote from their
quote from the artist: “The theme that comes up again and again are figures that connect to a sort of myth-induced stereotype rendered iconic, but are bludgeoned into a farcical, conceptual iconoclasm rendered absurd by its exaggerated impotence as carriers of meaning or the (a)esthetics of politics.” No, I won’t even pretend to get that! But whatever this show really is about (an even if it isn’t about anything at all), one must acknowledge that it does deliver a visually satisfying experience.
Unlike Manuel Ocampo’s two other exhibits (concurrently running at Mag:net Katipunan and vwfa in Singapore), this show harnesses his talents along with those of a group of younger artists with whom he recently worked with. They all came together for a show in November 2010 at Manila Contemporary. Having also seen that exhibit, where they had blanketed the gallery’s walls by painting directly on them, it does not seem far fetched to assume that this show serves as an extension, a sequel, to that previous one.
West Gallery’s foyer and two smaller exhibit rooms have been over run with cardboard, the kind used for cartons and favored as shanty walls. Eleven artists used these as the ground to unleash their paintings. Singly, their works lean towards street art. Their collaboration has brought about an explosion of lively images that keep to the tradition of lowbrow and graffiti.
The largest of West Gallery’s three rooms holds only Manuel’s work, five large-scale paintings on canvas and eight smaller
works on paper. He sticks to a blue palette for his bigger pieces, and I did wonder why. Was it a nod to Picasso’s blue period? Did he mean to refer to porcelain? Or perhaps, his monochromes simply act as foils to the burst of colors from the other rooms. His style jives perfectly with the graffiti-ed walls in the next two galleries. So one could pronounce the show seamless. While it did not deliver anything new (Street Art seems to be all the rage these days), I would still recommend making time to view it. I thought the individual works on paper from the younger artists worthy of consideration, especially those of Epjey Pacheco and Nemo Aguila.
Boycotter of Beauty and the Theoretical Steroid Defiled Modernist Chicken headlined by Manuel Ocampo with Nemo Aguila, Bjorn Calleja, Rommel Celespara, Jigger Cruz, Don Dalmacio, Dex Fernandez, Epjey Pacheco, Edric Go, Dave Lock, Jason Montinola, and Beejay Esber runs from 8 to 26 February 2011 at West Gallery, 48 West Avenue, Quezon City. Phone (632) 411-0336 or visit http://www.westgallery.org