BY ALICE GUILLERMO
“…Some of the most striking paintings reflecting the temper of the times came from a former abstractionist, Roy Veneracion. In unusual and visually arresting works, such as ‘Panaginip and Pangarap (Ika-12 Pangitain ni Juan),” the artist deals with the end of the Marcos rule and reveals an accomplished figurative style. Deviating from the traditional illustrative approach to history painting, the works are surrealist, combining recognizable public figures with symbols such as monster robot signifying militarism and a beautiful nude woman symbolizing Filipinas who is sometimes shown contemplating her identity in a mirror and who is ever in danger of being ravaged by malignant forces. Within the visual field, the artist brings together the ‘amatis personae’ of that historical conjuncture: Marcos and Imelda, Cardianl Sin, the Generals, the widow Corazon, and the Filipino family, as well as references to the United States in the Stars and Stripes alongside the Filipino flag. The figures in themselves are not realistic but are recognized by their salient features, some of them, too, are disguised in symbolic form. The superb handling of values creates a dreamlike, mesmerizing atmosphere, and the figures appear as though they were acting out their parts on a stage. This work brings out hidden potentials in the category of historical painting.