Published November 20, 2020
Welcome to the world of Filipino artist Mariano Ching. As figures of Rococo paintings are imbued with the divine to become saints and cherubim, here every painted person is an oddity transfixed by some mystery. Rubbery slackers, hairy faces, rocker burn-outs from the sticks wander amidst ruined landscapes of the modern world. Life is sleepy and civilization’s conveniences and comforts are coming apart. And yet multi-colored amorphous fungi sprout from the ground, paintings hang on every tree, pieces of glittery rainbow magic seep through the ramshackle, and strange majestic structures arise from trash heaps.
As we imagine classical music for so-called proper fine art, imagery from the album cover designs to the band’s look has always been part of the delivery of popular music. And so even as the scenery and characters in some of Ching’s paintings call to mind panels from an underground comic, music, post-punk perhaps, is also the setting of these figures. The rock-n-roll lightning symbol, records, speakers, axe-wielding musicians form part of Ching's iconography. Ching has also used records as the canvas for paintings and the songs as the basis for their imagery. And in more enigmatic pictures that verge on the cosmic, telepathic energy is depicted passing from figures to another like in some kind of rock psychedelic dream or some weird electronic noise opera.
Mariano Ching has had solo and group exhibitions at various galleries, institutions, and festivals worldwide. They include the Singapore Art Museum, Valentine Willie Fine Art, Art Taipei, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Owen James Gallery, the Voice Gallery, Silverlens Manila and Singapore, and Finale Art File. In 2002, Ching was awarded a Monbusho Scholarship to study art at the Kyoto University. In 2006, he was one of the recipients of the Thirteen Artist Award of the CCP.