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Vancouver
Steffanie Ling
Patrick Cruz at Centre A
April 14, 2016

Patrick Cruz’s latest solo exhibition, Bulaklak ng Paraiso, currently on display at Centre A, is an exuberant mixed bag that has found occasion to burst at the seams. Hundreds of un-stretched paintings cover and creep up the walls, obscure the floor, and overlap each other with irreverence for the composition of each individual work. However, this individuality becomes, well, irrelevant, if the composition is merely a fiber of a much larger construction. And, it’s worthy to note, that despite receiving the 2015 RBC Painting Prize, the paintings in this exhibition resonate in a completely different way from his winning submission Time Allergy (though they all share a similar painterly visage)



Patrick Cruz, Bulaklak ng Paraiso

Looking at each painting individually provides about as much insight into the overall exhibition as we would from focusing our attention on specific objects in the exhibition – for instance, a crate of bath towels, stuffed birds, or an office telephone slathered in acrylic paint. All of the above are examples of objects accumulated amidst other sculptures and found objects slathered in paint and located in the pit of the exhibition. In this assemblage, the cheekily titled Landscape Painting, the artist paints a geo-political landscape that depicts the movement of products that originate in the West, are manufactured abroad, and then reintroduced as kitschy consumer delights. Cruz’s “maximalist” strategy speaks to the deluge of a globalized world. Whether it is an outright critique remains uncertain, but he is unabashed about its influence.

The way Cruz’s paintings are shown give the exhibition its initial power and allure, but this effect merely couches a nexus of media and intentions furthered by the sculptures, as well as the videos of other artists that are also included. Grotto gathers three works by Casey Wei, Dada Docot, and Jac Phillipe V. Carpio that are shown on separate monitors amongst smaller sculptural odds and ends. While they are auxiliary, their presence confirms the political connotations sublimated by Cruz’s frenzied and uncalculated aesthetic. Each film depicts bodies and voices at work, anchored in the emotional and quotidian realities of cultural and economic exchange that Cruz’s materials speak to, but these subjects cannot be completely articulated with paint and matter alone.


Centre A: http://centrea.org/
Patrick Cruz: Bulaklak ng Paraiso (Flower of Paradise) continues until May 7.


Steffanie Ling's essays, criticism, and art writing have been published alongside exhibitions, in print, and online in Canada and the United States. She is the editor of Bartleby Review, an occasional pamphlet of criticism and writing in Vancouver, and a curator at CSA Space. She is Akimblog’s Vancouver correspondent and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram @steffbao.

 

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