Lives and Works: Manila
Rom Villaseran’s approach to visual art is rooted in his adherence to narrative. It is because of this that the artist’s works demonstrate his intensely imaginative sensibilities. Organic and flowing, his oeuvre is rife with symbolism and metaphor, in an aesthetic style that is heavily influenced by his experience in graphic art and the underground and independent music scenes of Manila. 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 display an artist whose narrative leanings have brought him to the forefront of a unique style, anchored by unparalleled technique.
Using an organic palette, he largely establishes the landscape as metaphors—of decay and rebirth, the cycles of despair, and other heady concepts. Scattered within his oeuvre are details – some glaring, others so fine as to almost require a magnifying glass – that the resulting cacophony is both lavish and subdued. Villaseran also uses a neo-surrealist approach to his practice, managing to create a dream-like ambiance without the resulting haze. Credit this, perhaps, to an incredible grasp of technique, which is highlighted by the fact that the artist favors the water based medium of acrylic—which is at once more difficult to control than oil. This combination of technique and vision allows Villaseran to explore the ‘inner world’ of hallucinogenic space.
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