Cris Villanueva Jr.
Published December 20, 2021
With a committed lack of seriousness and an impassive wit, Cris Villanueva Jr. paints like a deejay churning out 12-inch remixes from an expansive mental library of images. His most well-known paintings involve modifying art historical works and other pre-produced images with robotically-painted trompe l’oeil bubble-wrap sphères. His output of late are often large abstract paintings based on electronically produced drawings, lines and shapes that suggest a post-internet aesthetic, MS Draw and Tumblr vandalisms transformed into the elevated planes of high modernism.
In the paintings of Villanueva, there’s always a point of departure, a photo, a jpeg, that goes through his labor intensive painting process. Often bent towards a hyper realistic or faithful copying, he re-stages the original into a new set of rules and the amorphous and arcane context of art. Doodled quiz sheets, erasures on a blackboard, scrawlings on found paper, the displays of a record store, and other personal ephemera become elements of a peculiar and individual game.
“All the possibilities present themselves,” says Villanueva,” and like a dictionary you just have to select the right words and make your statement.” Villanueva gives this impression. The things he does are permutations of a game, a language, a system that he will often challenge from its comfortable boundaries, like deciding to shift from painting left-handed to right. His is not a visual style, as with the obsession of Philippine modern art
Cris Villanueva Jr. is a Philippine contemporary artist who has mounted several solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group exhibitions in cities in the Philippines, also in Hong Kong
and Singapore. He was the recipient of Juror’s Choice Award of Merit (2010), Juror’s Choice (2006), and Grand Prize (2005) from Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards. His paintings can be found in many private collections, including at the famed Pinto Museum.