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Distill

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Eric Guazon presents an ensemble of oil and acrylic-base and mix-media works for Distill, his sixth solo exhibition. The works dwell on the image, its voluble yet paradoxical nature. Pictures themselves are infused with life that leads to enthralling and fascinating encounters. Yet while they throb with meaning, they are simultaneously dead, existing as they did in space and time past. The enigma that cloaks the picture is the artist’s central preoccupation in this exhibition.

Guazon borrows largely from the genre of still life but instead of objects composed as representations, he constructs tableaux of pictures, images culled from various sources, fashioned and framed into worlds within canvas, familiar and unsettling all the same. The piece Still Life combines everyday objects from the artist’s real work space and an imagined room. These objects are meticulously composed in a deceptively banal scene, one imbued with the spectre of doom. Fencers tiptoeing, a televised still of the burning towers of 9/11, a paper airplane about to touch ground, a marble foot atop an Art History book all signal an already precarious balance one still gravely threatened. In the lower corner of the image a feline stares ominously.

Objects depicted were woven together in a manner less studied, with part reliance on random chance, an image stitched onto an expanding picture plane of sometimes disjointed metaphors. At the outset however, we are led to seeming coherence aided by formal device – the realist rendition, the contained placement of objects in a picture plane, a three-dimensionality wholly executed on flat surface. Yet this coherence relies on incongruity signifying the chaos that may well describe humanity’s conundrum in our age.

The triptych X-Wars finds the artist going back to familiar medium and form. It harks to earlier pieces of sawdust and glue toy soldiers, prancing in glee across ground. The mix-media piece and the monochrome transfers of sordid silhouettes of heads drowned by ink illustrate the ties between old and new works. Beyond affinities of theme, a persistent fascination with violence and ruin remains. Therein resides a corollary interest, an interrogation of the divergent forces of death and life and the way an image embodies and renders this incipient contrast. While several of the appropriated images in Guazon’s pieces are realistically formed, they evince a dolorous air, a despondent gloom. Before an image, we are sorely reminded of our foibles, of our short-lived and constantly threatened existence. Indeed, the image often outlasts human existence.

Eric Guazon engages the image as thing infused with meaning, resurrected once more to evoke sympathies familiar and alien. In Guazon’s landscape of pictures, images are animated for the purpose of imagining ourselves before potent emblems, which may in all probability outlast our mortal lives.

Distill opens with an artist’s reception on 2nd May 2013, Thursday at the NOVA Gallery at La Fuerza Compound Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. The exhibition runs until 23rd May. Information about the exhibition may be coursed through info@novagallerymanila.com or contact +632.3927797.

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