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A Purposeful Fusion: Roy Veneracion’s Syncre Art

November 06, 2013


When the real no longer is what it used to be, nostalgia assumes its full meaning. – Jean Baudrillard

Postmodernism is a set of ideas as well as a condition of existence that questions the fixed mentality and rigid order of things in the modern world. What it advocates instead is a skeptical attitude of things, while another opinion it champions is that we should resist this fixed domination of our life through a rebellious character of consumerism.

This ability to appropriate the power of different things and make it your own is also what propels the work of Roy Veneracion, an artistic principle that he calls Syncretism or “Syncre Art for short. Over the past thirty years, Veneracion realized the limitations of Modernism as a vacuous monotony of significant forms and boring figure-ground experiments. Instead, he rediscovered the power not only of figurative painting, but its combination with abstraction and graffiti as a powerful counter-tool against the messianic claims of Modern [Abstract] Art to signify the “end of history.”

Veneracion layers recognizable human figures taken from magazine ads, graphic novels, and the internet with gestural painting lines, and even lettering on top of brilliantly color-washed “backdrops,” with no composition ever being the same for any two works. Using bright pastel and primary color hues as his integration point, Veneracion combines these various styles together by playing around with the ideas of modern life, history, society, and the environment, resulting in definite “themes” that are foregrounded in each work. In his exhibition Syncre Art, Veneracion focuses on several classic subjects that deal with nationhood—or at least his irreverent if stridently philosophical take on the fixed manner that the nation is represented via literature, media, and education. What makes these works in Syncre Art Filipino is thus not a question of blatantly repeating a fixed idea of what “Filipino cultural identity really is.” Instead, Syncre Art is a gentle reminder that being Filipino—as well as being human—necessarily requires an acknowledgment of the multiplicity of selves, histories, societies, and nations that constitutes us in the present, and combining these various identities together that makes sense of our multiplicity without erasing their differences. (Reuben Ramas Cañete, Ph.D.)


Syncre Art
Roy Veneracion
NCCA Gallery, Intramuros, Manila
7-30 November 2013

ROY VENERACION, the country’s leading proponent of Syncre Art, unveils his latest advanced exposition of his postmodern, psychologically penetrating satires. Set in an expanded vista of historical- postcolonial- contemporary and futuristic horizons, Veneracion’s “syncretic” poly-style paintings proceed from aleatory, non-interventionist, random aesthetics progressing to expressionistic sketchiness, all the way to meticulously painted symbolical- dream-like figures. 

Veneracion was a CCP 13 Artist’s awardee in 1990. His painting titled Ika-13 Pangitain ni Juan is on permanent display at the Philippine National Museum. His work titled “El Tango Final Antes del Diluvio was featured in the L.A Downtown News, in Los Angeles, California, where it was exhibited as a part of his one-man-show in that city in 2008.

The National Commision In Culture and Arts features the works of Roy Veneracion in a solo show titled Syncre Art at the NCCA Gallery from November 7 to 30, 2013. The NCCA Gallery is at the NCCA Building, 633 Gen Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila. Tel. Number 527-2192 loc. 512/506.