Lives and Works: Philippines
Roldan Cruz Ventura, more commonly known in art circles as Manok, is a visual artist hailing from a family of similar talents. He graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from the University of the East, and then continued to hone his talents by participating in numerous painting competitions, gaining recognition by placing second in the 20th Metrobank YPA National Painting Competition in 2003 and garnering the Grand Prize for the 3rd Nokia Arts Competition in 2001. He has had 7 solo exhibitions to date, and numerous other group shows in Asia, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand and Taiwan.
Manok’s is recognized for his unique gift in seeing art in a scenario that has stood the test of time, as well as painting discarded objects. Subjects of interest to him include objects that are familiar and close to home, such as walls from old structures that he passes every day during his long commute. While most people might not even give these urban/suburban backdrops a second look, Manok instead photographs these “damaged goods” so he can recreate them on canvas and breathe into them a new life, a new purpose, injecting something new out of something very old.
His keen attention to detail and faithfulness to his photorealistic roots, includes using very fine brushes to reflect chipped paint or the onset of corrosion, means that each large-scale piece would take weeks or even months to complete. Despite the time taken to complete the works Manok affirms that, “the execution is quite spontaneous”. Though the images are based on photographs, he lets his brushstrokes dictate the pace and the direction of his work, often leading to a near-abstract finish. Manok leaves it to the imaginative viewer to see what he would like to see, to write its history and carve its future. He merely sets the tone and the plot as it thickens through the actions of man and the course of natural events.
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