Unexplored Terrain

Roy Veneracion is no slave to tradition. While other artists are satisfied with restricting themselves to a particular style, the rigid confines of art genres do not exist for the artist who has set himself apart with his diverse portfolio of paintings that are exceptional, colorful, and playful. Championing the style known as Syncretism, Roy has been known for his ability to merge different treatments, abstraction, figures, and all other possible combinations and permutations, without paying heed to classical rules. The result is a body of work that is a most authentic expression of his soul.

A voracious reader of all and every literary creation, Roy has admitted to reading all volumes of the Encyclopedia on his bookshelf from cover to cover in a span of two years. His passion for books provided him with a comprehensive knowledge of quirky topics. This, coupled with his active effort to engage in the world, served as the basis for his unique views and insightful commentary on many pressing social issues. This is the very catalyst that drove him to his particular style, which is marked for being inclusive of all styles.

The atmosphere of tension, suffering, and political aggression that prevailed during this time spilled into the blank canvas in a wild confession of colors, lines, and figures. These served to represent the thoughts, moods, and feelings of the artist, as well as the trends of public opinion. It was an artistic snapshot of humanity, naked and vulnerable.

“Every blank canvas to me is an unexplored terrain of discovery, projection, sublimation, and revelation,” says Roy. This desire to confront the deepest anxieties of society has been a running theme throughout his artistic career. In fact, in his last interview with Manila Bulletin, he related an exhibit that featured his paintings on the perils of climate change. The exhibit opened a day before Typhoon Haiyan came and left Visayas in a wake of turmoil and devastation. In recollecting the eerie foreshadowing of his paintings, he opts for a more positive approach saying that, “industrial, business, and political leaders have finally acknowledged that climate change and global warming are real problems that need to be urgently addressed.”

“It might be said by advocates of Art for Art’s sake that these issues have nothing to do with art and aesthetics,” Roy said. “But all of history reflect the personal experience, as well as the socio-political issues and faith that surrounds the artist. Nobody creates in a vacuum, as the saying goes.”

Indeed, it is for this very reason that these issues became the take-off point for his more internal reflections. “I moved on to everyday, dreamtime, personal and psychological themes,” Roy said of his evolution as a painter, “In my latest collection, Syncretism or “Syncre Art” is reflected in the interaction among the pieces with each other in the exhibit.”

Offering a new dimension to the artist, his upcoming exhibit at Altro Mondo entitled Finding Without Seeking, is in response to Picasso’s “I do not seek, I find.”

Featuring not only the product of his own contemplations, the latest collection also showcases his latest innovations in the studio: “I’ve discovered and invented new techniques such as ‘color merge drag,’ wherein ribbons of primary colors direct from the tube are dragged over a prepared ground with a spatula. Crinkletex is made from coagulated thick paint as underpaintings that I glaze over with thin colors, these are new techniques in addition to older ones that I also still use.  My colors have become more intense, and contrasted with darker colors.”

In one work entitled Time, Roy places the logo of Time magazine amid a stunning black and white abstract background. The somber mood according to Roy is his “reaction to the feelings of uncertainty everyone experiences in our world today:  religious fanaticism, terrorism, random sociopathic behavior of schoolchildren with guns, and narcissistic irrational politicians.”

The chaos of the world may flood the consciousness and artistic creation of Roy. But this has not made him a pessimistic man. In fact, it is in his discussion of these harrowing and heartbreaking topics that he finds the most potential for redemption. He advocates the duality of man in his work, not only in the underlying tone of hope in his paintings but also in his very convergence of multiple ideas and style in one piece.

“I accept duality and dichotomy as a condition of existence: two sides of a coin, night and day, etc. By embracing and accepting differences and conflicting ideologies, Syncretism breaks down boundaries that divide—to make the world truly global and in harmony.”

In his artwork, Roy highlights the potential of diversity. Instead of focusing on its ability to divide, he uses his inclusive style as an opportunity to bring together these issues and demonstrate how individuality is not a hindrance to peace.

Relevance is deeply integrated in Roy’s artwork as the world in all its beauty and madness serves as his eternal muse. As the presidential elections are on the horizon and political debates scattered across social media pages are straining online and real-world friendships, the message of embracing differences and cultivating tolerance is more important than ever.

Syncre Art will be on display at Altro Mondo from May 5 to 19.

By Hannah Jo Uy and Pinggot Zulueta

Read more at http://2016.mb.com.ph/2016/05/02/unexplored-terrain/#51S3hBob3U5pKyQd.99

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