In his second one-man exhibit titled “Artlast,” artist Salvador “Buddy” Ching delves deeper into the human subconscious and renders his works on material that does not only speak to him, but has spoken to and for countless individuals across generations.
By definition, Ching’s choice of canvas is a hard-wearing, cotton-twill fabric usually found in shades of blue and is commonly used for jeans, overalls, or something that would clothe the average worker.
Although fashion sense has declared it a welcome staple in every wardrobe, for the longest time, denim came with a stigma that pegged people as the dregs of society. In the Philippines, wearing maong has always been associated with the underclass—the farmers, fishermen and construction workers.
Ching’s choice in laying down his hard-hitting dreamscapes on material that is as sturdy and as humble as the individuals who wear them to work every day is his way of breathing in media guru Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message” and concretizes this further with works that speak for themselves and resounds the issues tackled in each.
As journalist and fellow artist Voltaire Contreras said in the exhibition note, “In Buddy’s hands, a material so common no longer stays mundane. His reflections take us to terrains as rough and ready as the fabric that clothes the everyman.”
Ching’s “Gender I” and “Gender II” holds some resemblance to surrealist René Magritte’s renowned painting, “The Son of Man.” “Gender I” features a male torso in midair with a banana floating above it. Set against a dark gray background, the torso appears to have been done in pencil, along with the clouds that accompany it. Only the bright yellow of the fruit and lines of colored string dropping from the clouds break the monotony of the work. “Gender II,” on the other hand, shows a female torso, also seemingly penciled in, afloat with a blood-red apple above it. The symbolisms are paired with a lighter gray as its background, while the clouds and the string remain a commonality between it and the former piece.
Waking and sleeping
Meanwhile, “In Between Worlds” depicts a young woman with the same monochromatic look as the previous subjects of Ching, in a deep slumber. While she floats across the canvas, the work’s textile-like background is graphic, using the outlines of a single rose to create the pattern used as the backdrop. The dark gray roses bear single red dots while two circles, which could be the worlds indicated in the painting’s title, flag the girl—one, pure white, the other, pitch-black.
Another mind-boggling piece is “Kalakal,” which zeroes in on a shirtless, masked man whose head is covered by a piece of cloth and whose hands are placed at his back. A bar code complete with its corresponding numbers can be seen on top of the man’s head, seemingly printed on a green wall, while lines of alibata in red and blue serve as the painting’s foreground.
Salvador Ching’s “Artlast” will be on show until Dec. 9 at LookingForJuan Art Space in Serendra, Bonifacio Global City. E-mail [email protected] or call 9013152.