Behind The Curtain
December 14, 2021 - January 08, 2022
BEHIND THE CURTAIN By Abe Orobia
Demi Padua with his latest solo exhibition revisits classicism and infuses it with his pop-symbolist works. Not the customary pastiche works and reiterations; he contextualized the works of the Renaissance and Baroque masters, his narrative is inspired by his realizations and reflections from his late father: man’s mission on earth and the preciousness of life and faith in the divine.
A deliberate choice of subject, the classical figures as central elements are recomposed in the hope of delivering the timelessness and universality of his message that everything is bound by time and has its beginning and its end.
The great mourning of Padua in the recent demise of his father became his catalyst in producing works contemplating existence and death. According to Padua, “like actors in a play we take parts with our role in the stage called life where we relive the characters we are tasked or assigned with. God is the director and as participatory elements, we could only decide with the time given to us to make it worthwhile and well-lived”. This principle has been elicited in him from the unsurmountable love of his father who in his lifetime has been Padua’s greatest support, friend and mentor; fulfilling the mission of a patriarch of unparalleled love and devotion.
Various roles that his figures historically and symbolically played; Padua’s series, other than representing periods of human history through different costumes, speaks about restraint and strength through faith, which he believes the only true refuge men have in life.
Padua’s black and white portraits emulates man’s role and choices in life. They can be both good or bad or neither for they in fact symbolize the human spirit as the true dwellers of the flesh. The focal point of his works are the gaze and textures of colors dominating his compositions. The eyes of this figures practically foretell stories that are further dramatized by nearly chaotic background seeming like swarming veils infesting and eating away his figures in the end; however, are juxtaposed with triangular shapes denoting enlightenment, growth and higher perspective that were achieved through struggles in life.
In his work titled ‘Master’ the image is of a scholar who may have seen and knew it all as suggested by colors surrounding him; but, is guided by faith. The ‘Actor’ and the ‘Glorious Day’ may have no colors at all; but, the characters' gaze speak about their plight: content and proud yet discerning. The ‘Creation’ on the other hand as its title suggests depicts Adam rising from his slumber. Life and death are all linked to the divine. ‘Different Colors of Faith’ on the other hand embodies man’s yearning to the divine, for their suffering and enjoyment they think is tied though their belief. Similarly, as men seek commune with God through articles of faith Padua’s ready-made-antique Jesus Christ sculpture though armless is repurposed to act as a commission and symbol of faith. If Christ as a man fulfilled his purpose during His stay on earth so as Demi evangelizing through his art.
Finally, ‘Job Well Done’ and ‘The Show Must Go On’ are interconnected. The first represents a man who is old, his face is disfigured because of his enumerable and extensive experiences. He might be nearing the end of his life, but he is standing tall and looking at the audience and perhaps telling them, “Look at me I am happy”, while the latter is all about youth and progression. In conclusion, like his works from this exhibition Padua thinks that in the end we will all be judged based on our performances. We are all wearing masks and costumes which are all supplemental for the completion of our respective roles.
Demi Padua is a Filipino artist born in Calapan ,Oriental Mindoro. He studied Fine Arts at Far Eastern University.He is one of the most sought after artists by art collectors. His works have been exhibited internationally and has been awarded with the Grand Prize in the 2013 Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Tanaw Art Competition, and the AAP, GSIS Museum and the Metrobank awards.
Trompe l’oeil is one of Demi’s core in creating remarkable works. He does this by giving the audience an optical illusion effect through his meticulous brush strokes and lines. Triangles, pyramids, and stones are also one of the distinguished subjects of Demi’s pieces.