Monday, 30 October 2017

Melbourne Aquino

22 October - 11th November           Pinoy Cubism


Melbourne Aquino’s painting is derived from the urban environment of Manila, which it’s self is the basis of the Filipino understanding of Cubism. Historically described as Barong Barong this kind of painting draws a graphic parallel between the shanties of the city and the faceted surfaces of cubist paintings. More importantly there is a dialogue between the constructive inventiveness brought to found objects by Cubism and the inventiveness of necessity applied to the traditional Filipino Balai or house re-interpreted with available or found materials in the urban environment. Aquino’s paintings that obviously refer to overlaid and torn posters connect this intuitive cognizance of Cubism to the arresting beauty of dilapidation that is the patina of Manila.

Melbourne Aquino. D CV2 VIVA-13.
I came across Aquino’s painting in a group exhibition at the Astra Gallery in Makati, Metro Manila. When I made the obvious association with torn posters he was quick to point out that his work is all paint. Then looking closely at the works I realized that I was observing a mode of painting rather than the representation of an image.  These graphically alert paintings hover at an edge, between representation and process, between what we know and what we assume we know. They are beguiling in their beauty and instinctively honest abstract paintings.

There was treat waiting for me when I mentioned to Aquino that I’d like to see more of his work. Quietly he handed me an iPhone and I started swiping. I collected a cold beer, found a quiet corner and went on swiping, and then swiped some more.

Melbourne Aquino. B CV2 VIVA-7.
Melbourne Aquino. C CV2 VIVA-12

I wasn’t looking at two paintings by a young artist in a group exhibition. I was looking at years of intently focused engagement with a process and an image that had been explored with meticulous, detailed observations. Like artists before him, Aquino has laid claim to his imagery. These are not paintings of torn posters; they are of torn posters reminiscent of Melbourne Aquino’s paintings.

-Tony Twigg