“The drips and strokes negate the beauty of the paintings – they are transgressions against beauty,” says the artist.
In Ornament and Crime, Tracie Anglo-Dizon challenges the premise that a painting has to be pristine for it to be beautiful. For this exhibit, her second solo show for Pablo, Tracie disrupts her otherwise immaculate paintings with various drips and streaks, a process she describes as “vandalizing an image to break the illusion of the picture.”
Tracie takes inspiration from Chinese ceramics for this exhibition. “I find the ceramics from the Qing, Yuan, and Ming dynasties to be the most beautiful,” she says. “The works from the Wanli period, with its Wucai style of ornamentation, are especially striking to me.” But the pieces in Ornament and Crime are not rote recreations of ancient works — instead, Tracie deliberately breaks the exquisiteness of her subjects.
“I try to paint these images as realistically as possible, but I like retaining the mistakes, as it shows the human hand,” says Tracie. “I started adding drips on plates back in 2015, because I wanted to paint a crying plate. I liked that the drip added another layer to the painting and broke the illusion of realistic rendering.”
This act is revelatory. Instead of destroying the work, these “Melting Lotus Blooms,” is a painting of a Ming dynasty plate, with the lower third of the canvas overpowered by parallel paint streaks. It looks like the painting is unraveling, the same way a carpet unravels when you pull a single thread. Here, the painting unravels into its component colors. Violent brushstrokes unlock something hidden within.
“The Rage Within Us,” a dragon spews vivid orange streaks from its mouth. The gesture is almost childlike — how many of us have always wanted to “improve” classic pieces with cartoony flourishes Streaks, drips, and motion lines are consistent elements in Ornament and Crime. Beyond anarchic joy, they also communicate tension. This is entropy. This is void, if the void were a melting swirl of deconstructed hues. This tension was partly inspired by recent events, particularly the quarantines (of various flavors) we’ve had to go through.
“I painted for this show during the lockdown. I found myself responding to what was going on around us,” says Tracie. “I used these drips and strokes to highlight a particular emotion.” These emotions are perfectly represented in the paintings. These pieces can barely hold themselves together — and that is something many of us can relate to.
To view “Ornament and Crime” and succeeding exhibits during quarantine, Pablo launched its own virtual gallery. The project was developed by Acid House and Pablo, with assistance from GF Kids. The virtual gallery is viewable at www.pablogalleriesph.com