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Are we Ready for Wendy


Is the Philippines ready for popular art?

This seems to be what Galleria Duemila wanted to ask in its the exhibition of RM de Leon's "Anomalous" from July 1 - 29, 2005 at their gallery in SM Megamall.

RM de Leon used popular illustration to contrast comical and jolly depictions of children in bright hues with the disturbing monochroma of their past and future.

This temporal approach on what is otherwise, a bland background invites the viewer to
understand the paintings as histories of the focused subjects. While landscape paintings carry a certain level of reality with their play of the background and foreground, de Leon's paintings creates a compulsive requirement to connect these multiple layers a series of despicable events.

In Hansel and Gretel, shown above, the colorful reality of the children at play is dwarfed by the looming grim that will be their ordeal. Child labor was never been shown to be as ironic. There is betrayal in the movement of figures. One that will shock perhaps those that will walk away and dismiss the painting as mere illustration for a private kiddie school.

"Everyone Was Amused To See That The Bloom Part Of Poor Connies Dress Was Gone" questions the impact of society's overt sexuality on children RM de Leon 2005 acrylic on paper 98.00 x 124.00 cm. / 38.61 x 48.86 in.

In "Everyone Was Amused To See That The Bloom Part Of Poor Connies Dress Was Gone" a child's play on fixing the fence becomes a dark tale of sexual exploitation by the same society that vows to protect her. Like Humpty Dumpty who broke his crown on his fall, Connie cannot be mended again to her full beautiful self after the abuse.

Interestingly, the exploitation could not have happened at all, perhaps it was through a jab, a tease, an innocent joke, a slight tear on the skirt... it is all the same.

That's to say that in every story a darker and less colorful reality exists. A canvas of truths, possibilities, speculations, worries, concerns, make-believe, dreams --- it doesn't matter. The painting can only contain so much. Everyday more and more children would be in a similar, perhaps worse predicament.

I was fortunate to see the paintings on the wall and would buy one if I only have P95,000 of loose change. But let me ask again, is the art world ready for it? It's said that Filipinos have a bias for the classics. We love conformity so much we lose the possibilities of a genius of a rebel.
It's about time we have an artist as good as RM de leon to start it. He deserves all the praises.

Prepare to doubt a child's smile now. He got it right smack right. Galleria Duemila still has it online.

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posted by Jdavies @ 7/31/2005,


At 8/01/2005 03:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a concept rich in subliminals. I liked de leon's concept. But I think it does well if one is familiar with the storyline. However, the background sheds its significance if one is ignorant of the story.

Perhaps, de Leon can transpose his "paint-telling" to adult subjects, classic literature if you will. Julius Ceasar comes to mind. His assasination in the Senate in the hands of Brutus in the foreground while his crossing the Rubicon and affair with Cleopatra in the background can be a good example. By then, he would not have only attracted parents but art patrons as well.  

Posted by Edwin Lacierda

At 8/01/2005 08:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we won't be ready to aprreciate modern/new artforms, if we don't get exposed to them. our concept of beauty is influenced by our education, experience, and exposure.
at this point in time, i don't appreciate RM de leon's paintings. perhaps this has to do with a feeling of an abrupt change in the timeframe. it has to do with my subscription of a continuity of time.
time is not discrete but rather continuous.

Posted by johnxxv

At 8/05/2005 12:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edwin - your point is well taken. As we know of art, one can either create meaning from the work itself or draw meaning using other known concepts.

RM de leon's interest in the exhibit however focuses on children as contrasted with the diabolical society they are in. Certainly, Julius Caesar will not be party to that. I respect the painting as it is, and perhaps in the future we shall see more RM de Leons talking about other things. If nobody will buy his paintings, then surely we may not be able to see a Caesarian painting from him. JOhnxxv also makes a valid point... and I am inclined to take his same stand. We are not ready for this.

But that does not mean we should not support the artist. Idealism should never be nipped at the bud. It takes courage to do as he did. 

Posted by jdavies


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The Author


Jdavies lives in Quezon City, Philippines and has been blogging since 2002. A brand manager in a leading technology company and a freelance new media/web strategy consultant, he has refocused his blogging from personal, political & sociological observations, to marketing-related efforts and Internet trends that are relevant to his career and branding advocacies.

About This Blog

This blog is a depot of thoughts and observations on marketing trends which remain personally relevant to the Author as far as his marketing career is concerned. Having evolved from the personal blog of Jdavies, much of the earlier work contained herein are laced with personal speculation, political views, and similar advocacies. These posts are being kept for posterity's sake and for no other reason. No effort is being made to claim that the author will not contradict himself from his previous positions or that such advocacies are absolute.


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