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Friday, February 19, 2010

GRAVEN IMAGES


Graven Images
JCrisanto Martinez
20 February – 06 March 2010
Whitewall Gallery



SEVEN


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1



Wearing gilded crowns, JCrisanto Martinez’ Graven Images show seven relief sculptures of the deadly sins. In his first venture into figuration, the artist invokes images of envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth and wrath in a mix of resin, gold-plated brass, carved plate and old wood panels rendered with acrylic and enamel paint, making tangible the Gods worshipped by men of the flesh.

“I found it ironic that people openly worshipped certain idols yet have hypocritically avoided to openly worshiping those ‘GODS’ they would love most: the Gods of wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. I simply made a personification of these ‘Gods’,” the artist stated when asked about the inspiration for his latest exhibition.

The images are placed on pedestals of varying heights, providing a multi-level setting for the audience to scrutinize. This configuration along with the Spanish-Latin translations of the Seven Deadly Sins that serve as the artworks’ names underscore the artist’s intention to present them in ironic reverence.

Nuestra Senora de Invidia (Envy) is represented by bile greens and mustard yellows reminiscent of seething acid. Nuestra Senora de Gula (Gluttony) has a distended, swollen belly where the medium is built up, the reflection of excessive and uncontrolled feasting. Nuestra Senora de Avaritia (Greed) has a spiky crown that warns of stabbing projectiles of inconsolable want. Nuestra Senora de Fornicatia (Lust) presents a gaping chasm ready to accept the adoration of worshippers. Nuestra Senora de Superbia (Pride) has a bronzed armor of arrogance. Nuestra Senora de Socordia (Sloth) seethes with passive energy while Nuestra Senora de Ira (Wrath) has the threatened violence of a loaded gun.

With these representations, the artist makes an effort to confront the Filipino’s definition of familiar iconography and penchant for religious idols. By interpreting the Cardinal Sins as figures and naming them as saints, it seems that Martinez himself is playing God with mixed media, shaping them into objects of his liking, creating physical symbols of a human being’s tendency to fall. His Graven Images may be seen collectively as both a statement and a warning, reminding us not to be mislead by false idols and rethinking what really drives us in our earthbound lives.

JCRISANTO MARTINEZ (Joseph Crisanto R. Martinez) is a visual artist, independent writer, web designer and graphic artist. He established the Cordillera Artists Central, an independent online promotions body which fosters the promotion of Filipino artists and Philippine Arts and Culture, and Artepinas, Inc., a non-stock, non-profit organization.


- Kaye O’Yek

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