I find them quite amusing, these globs and squirts and drips that Pow Martinez uses for his paintings. I first came across his work a little less than a year ago at West Gallery. Aptly titled 1 Billion Years, that show introduced us to Pow’s unique way of rendering figures, somewhat like the crude illustrations of primitive man. He had small pieces, nothing bigger than 2ft x 2ft, or 2ft x 3 ft if I remember correctly, of faces made from smears and clumps of paint. The kind you could also imagine up on the walls of a kindergarten.
Pow describes his paintings as primal. They employ no particular references to art history, just fantastic reflections of an imagined universe. One filled to the brim with bright, sometimes neon, hues and provocative images that belie his childlike technique.
In this show, Hyper Blast Abomination, on view at Mag:net in Katipunan, we see more of his work. This time Pow includes two large-scale paintings. We get a glimpse of how this method translates to background landscapes and even still lifes. He also adds a suite of works on paper. Unsurprisingly, he reveals the influence of artists Manuel Ocampo and Jayson Oliveria on his art. Like them, he depicts over-the-top, somewhat shocking, images to deliver impact.
I like Sidekick and The Plan for their abundant backdrops and lively colors. These backdrops remind me of works by the Impressionists, albeit rougher and more imprecise, perfect foils to the characters he chose to populate these two pieces with: the pair of cowboys, one tall, the other short, swaggering down a path in Sidekick, and the coven of gargoyles in The Plan. Unhappy Flowers also makes me happy. I thought, though, that the collection that make up Shit Drawings #1 deliver nothing we have not seen before.
This past year has seen Pow Martinez return to painting after a stretch creating purely conceptual pieces. While there has been a wave of his aesthetic all over the world, I feel that it has just gotten into the Manila mainstream . As I told Pow when we discussed this show, anything new and different will always be a welcome development. It certainly spices up the scene.
Hyper Blast Abomination runs from 23 April to 21 May 2010 at Mag:net, 335 Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Phone (632)929-3191 or visit http://www.magnetgalleries.com