Meet Me At The Gate
Two Over Two
Ranelle Dial & Bembol De La Cruz
Dennis Bato & Jood Clarino
Private Agenda, Hidden Property
Trespassing (Not) Allowed:
Private Agenda, Hidden Property by Van Tuico
In this suite of new works for the exhibition, Private Agenda, Hidden Property, Van Tuico quotes the signs—and signage—of contemporary life, as expressed through and by both the literal and figurative urban fabric: cement, asphalt, brick wall, warning sign, and most certainly the grid, which is the basis of painting and urban planning. Exposed, recognizable, and accessible, these slivers of the city are understood to belong in the public sphere, to be used and enjoyed by everyone.
These works, however, are fitted with steel matting, which establishes the barrier between the viewer and the piece. What is being presented is simultaneously being withheld. The steel matting gestures at the gates, fences, and any and all forms of demarcation drawing the line between the outside and the inside, between public and private. Its mere presence signifies that ownership is being asserted and that to peer through, to look past the border is tantamount to trespassing.
Just like how it is in the actual, day-to-day conduct of our lives, barriers paradoxically make what they are concealing more visible, igniting and drawing curiosity instead of thwarting it. A few may step back and move on but most of us will attempt to investigate as if to not assuage the desire to look harder becomes all the more intolerable. Barriers, such as in these works, may signify “protection,” a symbol “to keep one’s property safe and secure,” but they also provide the evident line to transgress. Vandalism, such as graffiti, becomes all the more irresistible exactly because it is forbidden.
Aside from bringing the viewer into an acute awareness of these lines, the artist also formalistically asks questions about the nature of perspective. Instead of providing a comfortable distance between the viewer and the work, the perspective in the pieces “distorts the view” and “disquiets the mind” as it eschews a sense of illusory depth, confronting the viewer with the materiality of the medium. While the works adhere to the tenets of abstraction, they signify not merely environments but a landing place to a vision that sees these paintings as continuities of the world.
Through a deft manipulation of materials, techniques, and the resulting perception, Private Agenda, Hidden Property revivifies our connection to the sights, sounds, and textures of the cityscape that has become so banal and repetitive in our everyday encounter with it. By denying immediate access to their subject matter, these works offer us the opportunity to see these continuities of the world with a new pair of eyes, charged with an inquisitiveness that we accord to things that are at once mysterious and equally elusive.
- Carlomar Arcangel Daoana