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Uploaded July 23, 2017

REVIEW


 

An Anti-Realist's Increasingly

Pensive Set of Enigmas

 


 



Phantom Seed, Dengcoy Miel, oil on canvas, 20" x 16", 2017
 

 

 


 

 

IN Dengcoy Miel’s first solo show at Kaida in 2016, the internationally syndicated prizewinning editorial cartoonist proved to be an absolutely welcome addition to the long listmade long through timeof cartoon experts able to adapt to the art of painting their expertise at handling the visual pun. Not just because Miel's puns were convincing at the emotional level, but because, too, his allusions were able to go beyond the problem play of the present-obsessed art of caricaturing to thus comfortably set themselves in painting tradition’s more permanence-seeking stabs at all facets of evolving culture.
    In this year’s Miel return to Kaida, launched last July 9 and closing tomorrow, Miel has widened his cultural significance by providing his market a palette of works that, while still offering his earlier sociological and historical visual puns, also put on the table something else---pieces that triumphantly kowtow to that now-neglected traditional device for visual discourse, the allegory. All in uniformly intimate 20" x 16" sizes for personal contemplation.



Santo Fentanillo, Dengcoy Miel, oil on canvas, 20" x 16", 2017

    For instance, while Santo Fentanillo (above) is obviously a product of the old Miel punning (being a not-so-hidden stab at Rodrigo Duterte’s violent self-righteousness), a vague Phantom Seed (see opening picture above) could be said to be operating from the allegory mode, allegorizing on longing, or otherwise on dead dreams of fruition. Thou Art in Heaven, meanwhile, could be in that border between the visual pun’s satire (Christ is as problematic as the UFO as a historical idea) and the allegory’s depth (Christ and the UFO combined to state an allegory of our faith in theories).



Thou Art in Heaven, Dengcoy Miel, oil on canvas, 20" x 16", 2017

    And while I wanted to know how it feels like riding Picasso’s Guernican Horse would directly impress one as a satire on art’s pleasure obsession with a famous painting using a theme of terror, it’s not that quick with Pilya, which could be both a jousting illustration of the historically carefree spirit of the Philippine bourgeoisie as well as an allegory of the lumpenbourgeois (or easily adaptive comprador or neocolonial) soul hiding beneath that faithful appearance of a Spanish-era-referencing upper or merchant class element in Philippine society.



Thou Art in Heaven, Dengcoy Miel, oil on canvas, 20" x 16", 2017



Pilya, Dengcoy Miel, oil on canvas, 20" x 16", 2017

    And while Blues 1 is almost a Francis Baconian salute to the ready expressionism in imagery by way of the juxtapositional device, PINOYochio is more allegorical in pointing to the proud art of lying in Philippine politics among its major players and their various loyalists.



Blues 1, Dengcoy Miel, oil on canvas, 20" x 16", 2017



PINOYchio, Dengcoy Miel, oil on canvas, 20" x 16", 2017

    And so on—one of our favorites being that allegory of the existence of anti-science loony temples that nevertheless use fruits of science and engineering, The Near-Impossibility of Illuminating the Moon with a 40-watt bulb.



The Near-Impossibility of Illuminating the Moon with a 40-watt bulb, Dengcoy Miel, oil on canvas, 20" x 16", 2017

    So it seems that this, Miel’s second solo show, titled Enigmas, has added a more pensive allegorical tendency to the artist’s admirable old palette of cultural potshots, with the likes of Sacrum even providing an old Symbolist tendency to call in the spiritual and the dreaming imagination as an alternative to the noise of habitual artistic sarcasm. Miel lays it all out there for the “conflation and borrowing from a supplemental source (for) making sense of things”, as he put it in his catalog, away from both the insecurity of artists concerned solely with image-making and the shallow display of skill as well as from his own daily work as a quick caricaturist of daily problematiques. [d]



Sacrum, Dengcoy Miel, oil on canvas, 20" x 16", 2017


 

 

 

 


 

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Text (c) copyright 2017 diskurso.com
Photos by Marcel Antonio

 

 

 


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diskurso is an independent, Philippines-based online magazine on art aiming to veer away from a present mental landscape replete with the customary peacock and weasel words that continue to service the art industry.