Manuel Ocampo: The Corrections

When 8 Jan 2015 - 14 Feb 2015
Where Tyles Rollins Fine Art
529 West 20 Street, 10W
New York, NY 10011
United States
Enquiry (212) 229-9100

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 8, 6-8pm

Manuel Ocampo has been a vital presence on the international art scene for over twenty years. Now based in Manila, the Philippines, he had an extended residency in California in the late 1980s and early 1990s and continues to spend significant time working in both the US and Europe. For The Corrections, his third solo exhibition with Tyler Rollins Fine Art (January 8 – February 14, 2015), Ocampo looks back with a critical eye on his early work, making “corrections” to certain key paintings from the 1990s. Using photographs of his older paintings, he rearranges, reconstructs, and reimagines various motifs, then silkscreens the radically altered images onto the canvas, often in a form resembling photo negatives. New interventions are then hand painted on top of these images, creating rich, multi-layered compositions that capture a sense of the passing of time, the evolution of consciousness, and the ongoing structuring of personal and group identities. Many of Ocampo’s works in the early 1990s were inspired by his experience living in Los Angeles during the race riots of 1992, and this new series of paintings is in turn influenced by the current racially charged environment in the United States in the aftermath of a number of police shooting incidents around the country, particularly in Ferguson, Missouri. They also evoke some dark periods in the history of the Philippines, including subjugation by Spain in the 16th century and the brutal Philippine–American War of 1899–1902.

Born in 1965 in Manila, the Philippines, Ocampo gained early recognition as a young artist living in California in the 1980s. His first solo exhibition, which took place in Los Angeles in 1988, set the stage for a rapid rise to international prominence. By the early 1990s, his reputation was firmly established, with inclusion in two of the most important European art events, Documenta IX (1992) and the Venice Biennale (1993). 
Also in the early 1990s, he participated in the landmark exhibition, Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1992), as well as Individual Realities in the California Art Scene at the Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (1991), and Jean-Michel Basquiat & Manuel Ocampo at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (1994). He has subsequently participated in numerous museum exhibitions and biennials around the world, including the biennials of Gwangju (1997), Lyon (2000), Berlin (2001), Venice for a second time (2001), Seville (2004), and the Asia Pacific Triennial (2012).

Ocampo is known for fearlessly tackling the taboos and cherished icons of society and of the art world itself. During the 1990s, he was noted for his bold use of a highly charged iconography that combines Catholic imagery with motifs associated with racial and political oppression, creating works that make powerful, often conflicted, statements about the vicissitudes of personal and group identities. His works illustrate, often quite graphically, the psychic wounds that cut deep into the body of contemporary society. They translate the visceral force of Spanish Catholic art, with its bleeding Christs and tortured saints, into our postmodern, more secular era of doubt, uncertainty, and instability. In recent years, his works have featured more mysterious yet emotionally charged motifs that evoke an inner world of haunting visions and nightmares. He often makes use of an eclectic array of quasi-religious, highly idiosyncratic icons featuring teeth, fetuses, sausages, and body parts alongside more traditional Christian motifs. The process of artistic creation is often a central concern, with many works making ironic commentaries on notions of artistic inspiration, originality, and the anxiety of influence. The artist himself is frequently the subject of parody and self-mockery; sometimes he appears as a buzzard, a kind of cultural scavenger, or assumes slightly deranged alter egos. He frequently includes sly references to the works of other artists, just as in the past he often referred to the work of provincial painters of Catholic altars.

Photo courtesy of the organiser/s

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