THE VIEW THROUGH THE BULL OF A MANUAL LABORER OF MENAGERIE GUSSIED OVER WHITE GROUND: 20 YEARS OF SELF-LOATHING AND INTESTINAL MISHAPS…huh? Say it fast about ten times. The title of this show at Tyler Rollins Fine Art for Manuel Ocampo last November 8th was reassuring that art is alive and well at Chelsea after the ravages of Super Storm Sandy.
Ocampo is a Manila based artist and of Filipino heritage with a successful career in art for over 20 years. His first illustrious inclusion was at the group exhibition, Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s, organized by Paul Schimmel at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The body of work that developed over two decades was staged at this niche gallery specializing in Southeast Asian Art. Lee Smith, gallery manager at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, shared his overview of the latest oeuvre from Ocampo as very symbolic and nuanced in exploring the social ramifications resulting from or inherent in his artistry.
In this case, it is best to divide and conquer from the superbly long show title. Self-loathing and intestinal mishaps are two things that struck out prominently in the works. There were various sized panels of intestinal entrails being a background on the paintings, the repetition of the buzzard or vulture that is a scavenger over carcasses left out in the open which also happens to be the artist symbolic representation of self, the screwed in nails dotting the picture wall or in some pieces as exposing what’s behind the scenes is now laid out for all to see, and the classical composition of still life but given a more textured treatment encased with some tongue in cheek elements. On the multi-media collage pieces there’s the clear allusion to how the artist rampaged about expressing self-loathing in either what to fight against or a rebellion from what was culturally instilled in him. There are some indications of Catholic iconography or demystification and the foot in your mouth premium of words as with a sock emblazoned with Poetry My Ass. You also get the organic process of containers with pools of mixed paint attached or the nature of the canvas treatments being taken directly from the floor of his studio.
It is veritably a visual feast and subjective smorgasbord that requires selective focus and time to digest properly. Definitely, two decades in the making to cook up. What’s the take away from this? It’s like a surgery camera viewing intestinal walls – the picture may not be too pretty but it is damn well full of substance. That’s where art stands, always filled with something to chew on and digest – carefully in your own terms.
Manuel Ocampo: ..20 Years of Self-Loathing and Intestinal Mishaps
On View: November 8 – December 22, 2012
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am – 6 pm)
Tyler Rollins Fine Art. 529 West 20th Street, 10W. NYC, NY 10011