There is the perennial premise on engaging things as they are: “what you see is what you get.” But what does it mean – to be literal? In this case of Gino Bueza the painterly, how far can you go to get literal in and with a painting? Often it easy to miss the point, with inter-textuality being rigged into our system of reading art: we break down the images in the work first of all, and there must be a narrative that would tie all of them together. Plus we prefer to match it to the artist’s context. It’s what makes sense, and it would determine the maturity of our interpretative apparatus. And it’s a trap as well, this question we bring to a system of images: “what does it mean?”
And so what happens when an unrecognizable syntax is mixed with the lot of familiar imagery? The language of ABBRVTN’S is a peculiar one. It is a voice that refers to the uncertainty of Bueza’s disjointed heterotopia (because his paintings are not really a place place for images to construct a narrative in). The works are an encounter of how the order of association is a quirky leap: they implode the regular semiotics and leave us with echoes of identification. Figures “hang out” in his works, objects float about. They are disembodied: there are only parts of them we recognize and the reality is there is none. Now that such vestiges are beside the point, the clues in understanding Bueza’s shorthand lie obvious in the names of his works. Mind the puns: the colloquial superimpositions are not only comic, they are so self-evident that they put our complex mode of interpretation to shame. For example: “Sun Set” emerges the delineation of palm trees and a horizon line typical of beach scene, while everything else congests into unrelated hodgepodge. In the meantime, the irregular geometry of the frame consists of many. The work “Sun Set” is one set, isang set, of paintings.
Along with the textual play Bueza incorporates as prompts into his works, ABBRVTN’S continues to resonate his practice of stripping the painting into what it is literally: a pictorial plane. Beyond the “gestural” mark-making traditional to exposing the “physicality” of a painting his particular device, which he has carried over from his works prior to this new series, consists of imprints of tears. Furthermore, he makes use of other strategies in this exhibition – from the irregularity of the frame and the ripped/torn ends of pictures to the deliberate rearrangements (as with the form of the jigsaw in “Complication Minus the Fun” and the deconstructed “The Swapping Corner”). These works are how Bueza gets literal with painting: he abridges images and formal elements enough for recall, at the same time their emancipation relates back to themselves as parts. As he describes it: “What is left is just as good as what was removed or omitted.”
December 14, 2013
Exhibit runs until January 4, 2014
145 Katipunan Avenue
Quezon City, Philippines
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