Philippine Daily Inquirer / 09:53 PM January 19, 2014
Fantasy-world building is the basis of Rom Villaseran’s visual art practice. Villaseran’s paintings are influenced by the landscapes of the fantasy novels he read as a high-school student. The artist visualizes these stories through a technique that uses a high level of minute detailing.
Growing up with the stories of Tolkien and Neil Gaiman, Villaseran uses an organic palette that largely utilizes the literary technique of metaphor. His paintings deal with subjects such as the cycle of decay and rebirth, despair, and the hallucinogenic qualities of dreams. Villaseran uses a neosurrealist aesthetic approach that manages to create a dream-like ambiance without the resulting haze.
Strewn throughout Villaseran’s oeuvre are details—some glaring, others so fine as to require a magnifying glass—and the resulting cacophony is both lavish and subdued. Credit this, perhaps, to the artist’s incredible grasp of technique, which is highlighted by the fact that the artist favors the water-based medium of acrylic. This combination of technique and vision allows Villaseran to explore the “inner world” of hallucinogenic space.
Representative of Villaseran’s practice is “Raising Heirs,” a landscape that resembles a desert that is comprised of jellyfish. At the center of this landscape is a rocky outpost in the shape of a giant seahorse, with foliage growing out of its “mane.” It is a haunting painting with fantasy overtures, but within the realm of what can be considered as surreal. The focal point of the painting, the seahorse rock, is awash with smaller details that required a highly developed technique to flesh out. Fortunately, Villaseran’s practice is all about how these smaller details fit in a larger work—very similar to how a writer constructs a fantasy novel.
The University of the Philippines-trained painter is apt to use broad strokes, but paradoxically tempers them with fragile lines and details. His acrylic-on-canvas works show an artist whose narrative leanings have brought him to the forefront of the art scene.
New works by the artist will be on display at Galerie Stephanie in Libis, Quezon City. The exhibit, “Orchestra,” opens Jan. 22, 6:30 p.m., and runs until Feb. 7.
Galerie Stephanie is at Unit 1B Parc Plaza Bldg., 183 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Libis, Quezon City. Call tel. 632-7091488; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.galeriestephanie.com.