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|Fantastic painting by acclaimed artist R.M. De Leon|
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Offering a large acrylic on paper by renowned Philippine painter R.M. De Leon
(I am not a professional photographer and hence was unable to remove the ‘glare’ from the painting's glass cover.)
This painting, painted in 2004 and purchased from a leading Manila gallery in 2006, is approximately 60 x 48 inches (5 x 4 feet), mounted on acid-free backing, with a raised border frame and covered in glass. It has been maintained in a climate controlled environment.
Take advantage of a rare opportunity to obtain a highly collectible piece by one of Philippine and Southeast Asia’s art stars at a considerable value; this piece is being offered for sale much lower than if purchased at a commercial gallery. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Following is a review of R.M. De Leon taken from The Manila Bulletin, one of the Philippines' largest newspapers:
THE MANILA BULLETIN
RM de Leon: The Art of Tricky
13 September 2009
"Poking fun at passé and incongruous sensibilities is artist Ramon Manuel ‘RM’ de Leon. The progression of his acrylic works on paper proves that this is what he enjoys and does best. He has, at some point, churned out loaded opuses brimming with grim appropriations and has already produced artworks that defy some of the persisting banalities and quirks in the art scene. But the artist’s high regard for aesthetics and technique resulting in sophisticated pieces seemingly betray the many jarring narratives and hard-hitting commentaries he inculcates in each one.
From the get-go, viewers are barraged with pretty imagery rendered in royal and bright hues, only to realize that, say, a famous fairy tale scene from our childhood is altered and warped into a bizarre picture that the modern (post-modern, even) world painted. Audiences are given doses of nostalgic and somewhat iconic images that are playfully twisted to suit the artist’s intention. Onlookers are immediately lured by the inherent ‘cuteness’ and graphic quality of his anthologies not totally seeing the ‘ugliness’ behind the artist’s mocking and tart-tongued experimentations.
But de Leon’s knack of synthesizing his morose and, at times, perverse perceptions with eye-pleasing visuals and his ability of juxtaposing dashes of wit and whimsy with streaks of the strange make him an exceptionally good artist and a social critic all at once. He lifts images from magazines or fairy tale books and reconstructs them into his own. As an artist, de Leon willfully and fully uses his creative license to play with all-too-familiar images and scenes, retaining their quality and just adding in them his acerbic touch or blotching them altogether to make way for fresh pictures with new purposes and context assigned to them.
De Leon pursued a career in art against his father’s wishes, though. His father, the first-ever superintendent of one of the leading manufacturing companies today, albeit a progressive thinker as he was friends with the likes of Alejandro Roces had something to say about his son’s college plans: ‘Iho, magugutom ka d'yan!’ However, the young de Leon was persistent. He enrolled at the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Fine Arts to further hone his talent, seen in him even when he was still a child.
“I was drawing the whole world when I was a kid. Anything that I could copy well, that promoted my talent, and that gave me confidence, I would readily consume,” de Leon muses. “Once, when my father entered my room he exclaimed, ‘Ano ito Disneyland?’ because posters and drawings filled it.”
You can just imagine de Leon when he found himself in UP. Emancipated from the fantasy bubble he created only in his room back in the day, de Leon was glad to have met there professor and seminal conceptual artist Roberto Chabet, who taught him work ethics and the importance of being a voracious reader. De Leon is much grateful to the heady Chabet because the latter did not just elevate and sharpen his attitude towards taste but also drove from him his current aesthetic principles.
“My influences are the neo-expressionists,” relates de Leon. Tagged as the Neue Wilden or ‘the new wild ones,’ the neo-expressionists are known for striking the canvas with a disorderly color palette but painting recognizable objects and human figures. De Leon channeled his interest with neo-expressionism through his mannerist and swift gestures, creating also tight and full paintings. “I noticed that my aesthetics would change every time I travel. When I was going in and out of America, I realized that my paintings are beginning to look minimalist because I found great interest in space,” he reveals. “I opted for center-oriented layouts and my strokes became more gestural.”
Soon, de Leon saw his strokes having semblance with the lines distinct to animation and illustration.
Through his mode of drawing small pictures and then blowing them up, the artist happily discovered that the enlarged images somewhat mutate—achieving other references or allusions to other images. The hands of the Virgin Mary, de Leon offers, would suddenly look like a dog being chased by a tree. “The ink blots, hits, skips, misses, and strokes contribute to this effect,” de Leon explains, “and so the work becomes solely mine.”
Of late, de Leon admits that his opuses have become stories and commentaries. They are, incidentally, de Leon’s own ponderings about society’s hierarchy of standards. His experimentation on technique has provided him with a body of work fraught with undercurrent and discreet observations and insinuations, making them trickier to decode. “I use appropriation to enable me to deliver the challenges I pose to standards,” de Leon says. In this manner, the artist uses irony as his main device to get his messages across.
The subject of his latest works illustrates his personal remarks on abstract action-paintings. “I find it funny that a lot of galleries and artists still promote the Jackson Pollock-ish and Willem de Kooning-ish paintings,” de Leon fearlessly divulges. “I do understand their responsibility to their business but what about their responsibility towards their art? It’s so retrogressed. Action paintings are very interior-friendly and I have nothing against that. What I’m getting at is there’s got to be something more than just prettiness.”
De Leon expressed his concerns over this through his works of cats, ducks, and dogs whose eyes bulge at the sight of abstract works, as if the animals are saying, ‘What the hell is this?’ The artist stresses, “This is a free world we live in but I think we have to move forward already. A lot is expected from those who claim that they’re good and those who claim they’ve gone around the world. So why are they stuck with these works?” Come November, though, de Leon will mount an exhibit at the Galleria Duemila in the same agenda as his previous shows about abstraction. He recently had a show of drawings at the Paseo Gallery.
De Leon, who is such a character, concludes, “Aside from skill, art is importantly and equally about being minded with the way one expresses his aesthetic views. It is the ability to convey what is current the best way you can and in your time. If you’re able to successfully deliver that, you must be a good artist. Be minded with your way because as Andy Warhol would say, ‘your 15 minutes of fame will be up after 15 minutes, so enjoy it.’” But by the looks of it, de Leon’s 15 minutes of fame has stretched more than he could imagine because he deserves it—and he is unreservedly grateful."
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