Carlo Ongchangco’s wistful and colorful images have been heavily inspired by a multitude of pop tropes, from Japanese comics to children’s literature, and even real-life heroes.
His exhibit “An Extraordinary Journey” will formally open at Galerie Stephanie on Nov. 20, 8 p.m.
The complexity of his figuration is detailed in his subject’s eyes. Large and soulful, they are often mismatched so as to resonate with an air of whimsical mystery.
In “Musical Serenades,” a diminutive geisha sits on a tree and plays a flute. Surrounding her are fish swimming on air, a feature that characterizes an Ongchangco work.
The surreal aspect of his art is perhaps the defining quality of his practice. Surrealism in the visual arts points to an attempt at narrative. By ostensibly describing it as a “journey,” the artist seeks to act out the trajectory of a plot line.
The narrative vein is also seen in “Dreaming of Stradivarius Symphony,” an explosion of different motifs—animals such as pandas and bunnies; violinists; what seems to be an altar-shaped building—behind a contemplative lady smiling as she clutches a violin. Her dress is Slavic, suggesting an alignment with figures in Russian folklore.
Ongchangco’s technique is a holdover from his college days. A graduate with a degree in Interior Design from the University of Santo Tomas, he has dabbled in a variety of media in his career as a visual artist.
He is creative director of Red Fish, an art apparel label he established early this year which creates its own graphic shirts. From 2007 to 2010, Ongchangco was co-owner and creative director of White Box Studio Gallery.
The exhibition runs until Nov. 30. Galerie Stephanie is at Unit 1B Parc Plaza Bldg., 183 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Libis, Quezon City.
Call (632) 7091488 or e-mail [email protected] www.galeriestephanie.com.