Inside the Visual Diary of an Artist: Gerry Joquico at Art Elaan

Used to submitting larger entries on canvas, the artist’s never before exhibited miniature oil paintings on brown paper the size of a postcard have the feel of an intimate visual diary, yet have the same technical skill present in his larger works. One can imagine the time it took to accumulate this body of work, the observation involved to source diverse ideas, and the discipline to become a prolific artist. With a wealth of references primarily from recognizable personalities and scenes from history making an appearance in the artist’s arsenal of studies, it is as if the artist has released an open letter for us to decode. Whether they are heroes, villains, victims, or ordinary men are left for our reflection.

Curiously, Joquico’s pups which are known to frequent his paintings to symbolize vulnerability and loyalty are named after infamous Roman Catholic popes in this series. Examples are Liberius, a martyr who was omitted from sainthood for his belief in Arianism or the teaching that Christ was not truly divine, but a created being, and Borgia, whose family was notorious for nepotism. We also have Damascus, present day Syria, whose destruction was predicted in the Bible. Yet they are depicted in an innocent, almost affectionate light. In contrast, a portrait of Rizal and a common Filipino are titled after derogatory slurs by the Spanish colonizers.

Joquico also incorporates pop culture references such as “Capt. Barbell”, a Filipino comic book hero, and “While My Guitar Gently Sleeps” which was originally sung by the Beatles in 1968, a lament of how people are sleeping to the potential to actualize universal love and all one can do about it is to make music. Rendered in the same classic impressionist style in neutral Pantone, it appears to be recontextualized in the same setting.

Gerry Joquico was born and based in Bacoor. He studied art at Far Eastern University under distinguished artist Danny Dalena.

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Nicole Lasquety

A visual artist and writer with a passion for media exploration, where big ideas are commonplace. Art, theater, personal essays. lasquetynicole@gmail.com