Since humankind first learned to express itself through art, it has produced one great art movement after another. Many of these artistic styles were produced by masters with works that have become permanent displays in museums. While each discipline is distinct, artists often blur the line and merge multiple visual arts genres to create something new. One example of this is the pop surrealism movement.
Developed during the 1970s, pop surrealism, also known as lowbrow art, merges the whimsy of surrealism with the bold and humorous style of pop art. Showcasing their interpretation of pop surrealism are visual artists Roby Dwi Antono and Mark Jeffrey Santos in their latest works currently on display at Galerie Stephanie.
Dubbed “Intensity, Intimately,” the exhibit that features Indonesian artist Antono’s works that bring to life iconic Japanese characters such as the kaiju, a type of monster similar to Godzilla that is either an antagonist or protagonist. The artist uses the duality of the kaiju as a mythical creature and expounds on this concept through the lens of a child forming a para-social relationship with characters they grew up watching on TV, back in the days before the internet, social media, or smartphones.
Antono presents illustrations of wide-eyed kids with the Japanese beast, and as the iconic Ultraman in black and white oil pastels—works that delve into what appears to be an emotional connection between the child subject.
On the other hand, Santos, popularly known as Mr. S, invites everyone to a colorful, dreamlike world, with images that show his penchant for adventurous and larger-than-life personas. His exhibit “Reflections” shows how society affects the way we live our lives and how the norms—the unwritten “rules” that society bestows upon its inhabitants—contribute to our fears. The works featured in this series show characters expressing disappointment and anger, emotions relatable to many viewers.
Those who grew up in the ‘90s, an era when comics served as one of the most popular and accessible forms of literature, will most especially find the collection familiar and appealing. “Reflections” shows Mr. S’s somber use of famous Japanese iconography through introspective journeying.
“Intensity, Intimately” and “Reflections” are available for viewing until April 17, at Galerie Stephanie, located at the 4th floor East Wing of Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong.