Published November 10, 2020
Ernest Concepcion often works on large scale canvases, creating crowded, action-packed, and paint-encrusted battlefields or strange lands with storied characters. Soldiers overlap on stained wildernesses. A solitary beast man walks in a jungle -- all of Concepcion’s paintings have something for us to decipher or clues to string into a narrative.
Concepcion himself is aware of his narrative style of painting or story-driven studio practice. And many of his works are brimming with a sense of conflict, of ruins, of storms, of deluge, of invasions. It’s an imagery and process that, according to Concepcion, resonates with a culture that feeds on the discord of its socio-political landscape. Inequality, unrest, disorder, and violence in our streets and halls of power seep into our popular culture. Meanwhile, hope is ushered in by our beliefs, the promises of faith, the mercy of the supernatural, or the confidence in one’s diligence and resourcefulness.
His imagery, however, is as much fed by what’s epic, sinister, heroic, gigantic, and otherworldly in the popular culture he consumes -- comic books, toys, games, science fiction, and music. Salvation finds its equivalent in clues drawn in, a gallant cavalry man with an electric guitar, a mythical six-eyed wolf, a godlike mechanism, and lights in the distance.