Saturday, November 21, 2009

LENA ON JASON ] On the occasion of the opening of his new show


I asked Lena Cobangbang to give us a peek at the new works of her friend Jason Oliveria, and also allow us a glimpse of the artist at work.

I was at first a bit confused by J since he told me before he doesn't want to have anything written about the show anymore. He thinks nobody reads those notes anyway, and people wouldn't really try to relate to it or use it as a guide in viewing his works. His works, his exhibits are always reactionary to the art market status quo and he seems to prefer it that way to afford him greater freedom to just do anything. It's a strategized and thought-out rebellion against things mediocre, common, dumb, simple, overtly conscious and overtly whorish.

They may look messy but they're all carefully planned and mapped out--the globs, the dots, the streaks, the brush-overs, the scrapings, the layered-images, monkeys tenderly hugging swans and floating green apples floating on a rough patch of gray, white, and umber. He puts on images as arbitrarily as he surfs for them on the net. He used to treat painting like a common sewer rat which eats anything its eyes lays upon, for its very survival or to merely feed the ceaseless oral habit for chewing and gnawing things, mostly junk, mostly the discards of a human overlord.

'He loses sleep over a painting, this compounded further by the howling barks of his landlord's dog, the scraping scraps of metal and aluminum being hurled over a truck parked at the junk shop right in front of his studio'

The resulting painting, the mulch from this much visual bingeing but strained thru the strictures still of a formalist tendency to make it work somehow. It's not an easy task, he loses sleep over a painting, this compounded further by the howling barks of his landlord's dog, the scraping scraps of metal and aluminum being hurled over a truck parked at the junk shop right in front of his studio, the nightmarish whispers that fester into dark conspiratorial commands in his brain, and the hang-overs of a numerous afternoon bouts with bottles of Gran Matador shared with his droogs dropping by.


He would, if he could, be in sympathy with David Berkowitz for the endless aforementioned annoyances. But It is an inevitable millieu, the happenstance of living in a congested space, where the wildlife that ambles through its dry rough concrete pavements live-off the discards of its denizens similarly scrabbling for the scraps of a much torn manna. The mangy mongrel dog bearing the brunts of its unwantedness, crippled, seemingly dancing to an imagined music. Why? Why that on his postcard invite? Because it just looks dumb. and you'll find yourself snickering, your lips contorting into a hysterical laugh.

We could assume that he probably treats painting like a mangy mongrel dog by using such an image--pathetic, dirty, scabby, smelly, an eyesore, unwanted but very needy. Maybe, painting is really like that. There's a considerable degree of difficulty of relating to it. It is obnoxious in its seeming high-mindedness and glaring conspicuousness. It should be for it is in its own plastic world, it has its own millieu, it is in its own utopia of abstracthood, yet it occupies the same material space as that mangy dog. But when a painting is difficult or takes time to look at, why would you buy it? Why would you own a mangy dog? Is it because you sympathize with its pathetic neediness? Or you cant stop your heart bleeding out of guilt? Or it is your compensatory act of not being a complete dick?

But art can be dicky in that sense, it has devious hooks in that it makes dicks out of its unwitting pleasers. J paints not to please. Because painting is not pleasant; it is the least pleasurable activity there is of man. Painting is not like shitting or puking though it can be shit.

For painting for pleasure or for anything else is for schmucks.

The aspired-for transcendence is a constant struggle in its unbearable weight of ungraspability. Ceaselessly itch for it till it hurts to scratch the skin of your balls.

Portrait of the artist by Steve Tirona. Art photographs courtesy of Lena Cobangbang. Jason Oliveria Shmuck Proof is on view beginning tonight at the Pablo Gallery, Bonifacio Global City.

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