• Start

    11 September 2014
  • End

    29 September 2014
  • Artist

    Ronald Jeresano

  • Venue

    Altro Mondo • Arte Contemporanea 3rd Level Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City
By Patricia Tumang

A lucid dream occurs in the liminal space between wakefulness and slumber, when the dreamer becomes aware that the mind is entranced. In this altered state, imagined objects and environments cannot be distinguished from reality. Many dreamers often report out-of-body experiences, perceiving themselves to be floating or adrift. Some mystics call this “spirit walking,” when the spirit leaves the body to traverse alternate planes of existence.

In Highness, painter Ronald L. Jeresano explores these altered states of being and the impact of losing one’s grip on reality. His series of large-scale paintings depicts a man floating, bare-chested and clad in jeans, through multiple environments. As the ethereal male body drifts aimlessly through a magnificent exhibition room at the Musée du Louvre in Paris or nearly collides with Michelangelo’s iconic David in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, belief is suspended as the dream supersedes reality.

Drawing from surrealist traditions, Jeresano strives to give new meaning to recognizable places and things. As seen in his previous works, he incorporates a variety of everyday objects to disrupt their contexts. From a tiara, a crown, a gaudy armchair, to a piece of monay bread, the objects are selected for their symbolism rather than their materiality.

Evoking excess, these objects and their surroundings depict what Jeresano believes is the artist’s harried struggle with wealth and prosperity and a desire to escape from its constraints to remain “grounded.” The paintings also evoke colonial art traditions with Philippine art history being largely informed by the West, which is reflected in the common practice of young Filipino artists honing their craft by copying the Western masters.

Unlike his earlier works that share aesthetic and metaphorical similarities with the artist Ronald Ventura, this exhibition reveals Jeresano’s progression as a painter forging his own unique approach to unearthing the uncanny in the everyday. As most of Jeresano’s subject matter tends to stem from real life, it wouldn’t be surprising if these were self-portraits.

Though Jeresano graduated with a B.S. in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, his transition to painting continues to be informed by his approach to constructing built environments. Whether that manifests in familiar objects or whimsical dreamscapes, the artist’s strength lies in his vivid exploration of the self—by letting his spirit roam the deepest layers of the subconscious to manifest new expressions on the canvas.