SHADOW FOREST: Encounters and Exploration

Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Philippines

30 Jan - 3 Mar 2017

About the Exhibit

Out of the shadows, into the forest, the art of Ronald Ventura turns to the half-light to shape its gesture, to explore and encounter whatever it is that matters. The silhouette is sharply cast, even as the figure is equally strongly formed. There is play between what is merely recognized and what lies faintly beyond the image, the palimpsest, or the simulacrum of ancestors and aliens. This exhibition revisits the artist's cherished graphic talent, his fundamental affection and skill for drawing that have led him to sketch out, fill in, round out, mess up, lay open, close up, and finally pull together the various persons and things that he chances upon or makes up. While the singular stroke is vital in the practice, Ventura has also harnessed this remarkable graphic intelligence to bring forth multiples in a decisive display of the reprographic potential of his fertile imaginarium. Intense virtuosity with lively line inflects inventiveness in generating artificial appearances. Thus, early drawings of pen on paper mingle with prints, figurines, sculptures, industrial stuff from cement to plastic. Graphite shares space with lithography, fiber glass, steel, lantern, and the ubiquitous digital image. All this Ventura has animated in his early experiments with material and his more recent fairground spectacles of monuments and carousels, in both totem and swarm rendered with diligence and whimsy.