Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where are we now? With a bit of luck, we will find ourselves in an age that the future will file and aptly name for us. What remains of culture that brings our gist correspondingly to the present-day excavations of the not-so-distant-past? What still remains?

Gene Paul Martin’s recent works, on first glimpse, have the distinction of hackneyed and run-of-the-mill knack. He summons us to the world according to what he envisions, yet not to over indulge us, as he confided. Some portrayals of big, buggy eyed characters (similar to those impish selfie photographs) distinctly manifests in his cartoonish impetuses — there’s a quality of infused fun and melancholy (sinister yet sensual). His early inspirations were the likes of Todd Schorr and James Jean. The knickknack inducements of Kaiju figures, Japanese comics and the perpetually trendsetter Juxtapoz, also influenced.

According to him, morbid sentiment is just as conventional as it can get, as he starts composing his pictures. A paradigm with multi-layered meanings and humdrum procedures. Glancing at those cutesy fluffy beasts, sickly-sweet pets and indefinable beings crawling in and about, or at their individual portraiture that were intricately done in oil, (which occasionally reminded me of Mariano Ching’s “Dog-Faced Boy” series) will enthrall onlookers instantaneously. The aptly titled “Mutations”, a succession of whitey wooly creatures that insinuate technical minutiae renderings, fascinates.

In “Nowhere Plains” there’s also a crew of monsters depicted on the tableaux that implies a bukkake udon (gang bang devouring noodles) in some unknown terrain beyond the limits of candy-coated dream factories. Likewise can be described with the accompanying piece “Sleepwalkers”. Also introducing in this initial solo effort, a toy character that is intriguingly named The Sleepwalker, according to Gene Paul Martin is an emblem of naïveté or gullibility and is depicted as hazel-eyed charmer lass in cottontail dress. What draws a person to an object is not always an idea but rather an intentional love of the object, intrinsically.

There is some kind of agnostic cute-worshiping in Martin’s plethora of works, like a man-child’s play that inconspicuously constructs inner desires into a reality taken from various arsenals of retro, Gothic, pop surrealism that kids look up to nowadays. Gene Paul Martin has ambiguously created a situational space for this exhibit which conveys his cerebral comfort, wherein the viewers can take part along with his personal fears, pleasures, torment, heartbreaks and yearnings. Frivolities toward juvenile fixation/paranoia shall re-materialize over and over again as we grew world-weary and jaded, that is all that remains.

For more details, please call (63 2) 570-9815 local 7.

Secret Fresh Gallery is located at Ground Level, Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Ave., Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

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