Monday, September 08, 2014

Dennis Gonzales, an astute observer of human nature, explores a Machiavellian world that operates on flexible morals and a modicum of deception. Its pallid-skinned habitués, possessed of vampiric elegance, are players in a devious game of one-upmanship. Titled “You Can’t Make an Omelette Without Breaking Eggs,” which opens on September 18, 2014 at Silverlens, YMC Bldg., 2320 Don Chino Roces Ave. Ext., Makati City, the show surveys the appeal of modern-day succubae who lure their prey with polished beauty and spike-heeled stilettos before going in for the kill.

Gonzales appropriates slick advertisements and subverts them, giving benignly beautiful women a dark, dangerous edge. In a quartet of oil-on-canvas paintings, feminine power is depicted as underhanded and subtle, but no less destructive. Animal avatars stalk the scene or lie in wait in the shadows, giving form to the predatory instincts that lurk behind glamorous masks.

The creatures in the artist’s menagerie expose the chess-like machinations and political stratagems that afflict human relationships. The cat, symbol of “feminine wiles and sexual aggression,” confronts the gaping maw and exaggerated canines of a dog, Gonzales’ embodiment of brute force. Lying in wait is a serpent, the original fork-tongued trickster whose silken words led to the Fall of Man. Who is the hunter and who is the hunted?

Elsewhere in his canvases, Gonzales drops tantalizing hints — a mirror, a skull, a bouquet of white flowers, and a hand reaching out from a confining purse — to add mystery and intrigue to his narratives. As an artist, he is deeply interested in peeping behind façades and teasing out the false civilities that hold society together. The animal psyche, the Freudian idiom of his subjects is as attractive to him as their pretense. Gonzales takes a page from Niccolo Machiavelli, the Florentine diplomat who lent his name to one of the personality traits in the so-called dark triad: “Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”

The show runs until October 18, 2014.

For information, call 816-0044 or visit

Silverlens Gallery is located at YMC Bldg., 2320 Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines

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