Sunday, August 17, 2008

What a Tangled Web We Weave

The endless knot has a long and distinguished history not only in art but also in the affairs of man. Arguably the best known being the Celtic knot, it is a motive that has been used to decorate everything from medieval manuscripts to 21st century tourist knick knacks. Whilst the Alexander the Great legend of the Gordian Knot, proclaims the metaphor of a bold stroke to cut through life’s intractable problems.

This motive of the never ending line dominates in Rock Drilon’s recent works currently showing at Galleria Duemila. He presents a series of pencil drawings on paper along with a series of Acrylic on canvas works. The drawings have a tentative feel about them like they are explorations of variants of his theme. On the other hand the acrylics are much more confident and explore in greater depth Drilon’s societal concerns, for these works are very much in the here and now. This is especially true for “Moving on 8” and “Moving on 5”, although for different reasons.

In “Moving on 8”, Drilon uses his variant of the endless knot to obfuscate the intriguing machinations hinted at behind the busy foreground. It is an astute rendering of the political spin that masks the corridors of power, which in a Filipino context Drilon has described elsewhere as being “sudsier than the best Soap Opera”. It would take more than one slash with a sword to solve this dilemma.

In “Moving on 5” Drilon pays homage to the British artist Francis Bacon by defining the pictorial space in a similar manner. But where Bacon’s work looked inward to the darker elements of the human psyche, Drilon takes a more optimistic view and with the use of his endless knot expands the horizon, to include an extended family? Where the centuries have refined the depiction of the Celtic Knot to the point that the decorative trumps the concept, Drilon’s endless knots have a raw energy that encompasses the untidiness of daily life seen through a Filipino prism.

“Recent Works” by Rock Drilon is on display at Galleria Duemila, 210 Loring St, Pasay City until the end of August.

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