One of the hurdles that photography faces when moving from its documentary roots into realms of fine art is to disassociate itself from being a prisoner to its caption. When the sentence, paragraph or essay informs the viewer’s reaction to the visual then the value of the visual is reduced to illustration. And the stronger the polemic of the written word the quicker the visual becomes propaganda.
This is not unique to photography and can and does happen in other genres, as with the current exhibition at the Hiraya gallery, First Impression – Lust. Ronald Caringal has hung 8 large paintings that dominate the space with their pop art meets super realism to make eye candy aesthetic. These crisp and clean and tres cool renderings of fantasy female faces are dominated by their titles. Witty one liners with erotic over tones such as “It was the moment he was glad to meat her” or “It was the moment he got into master baking” for example.
When this is coupled with Angelo Suarez’s catalogue essay “The Pleasure of the Oral” the political message becomes unmistakable and the works become illustrations of the written polemic. For without their titles and the essay they are accomplished graphic renderings which could well be a distinctive part of an IKEA gallery; a stylish decorative finishing touch for a bachelor pad.
The exhibition continues until 15th of July at 530 United Nations Avenue, Ermita.