Published August 13, 2020
Patrick Cruz is a Filipino multimedia artist that often converts entire exhibition spaces into immersive environments. A jungle of patterns and symbols repeat and overlap onto walls and paintings becoming dense abstractions mixed with objects, flora, and fauna.
At first glance, Cruz’s art could look like a mixed bag of candies and sweets, filled with familiar images painted in a rudimentary elementary art and crafts way. Winning a prestigious Canadian art competition, Cruz was noted for his “brave approach, maximalist aesthetic and wild graphic sensibility." This approach is deliberate. One motivated in part by an attraction to the awkward, ugly, amateur, and unpolished --- the opposite of the fine art's perfectness. The look is a by-product of a playful approach to artmaking, one used to disrupt artistic assumptions or grapple with subjects that include western art, cultural identity, and animism.
His paintings surely harken back to the birth of abstraction in modern art or to folk art. They even have a very passing resemblance to the patterns of Keith Haring. But while Haring's jiggly dots and lines dance among traffic lights on urban concrete, Cruz's emerges from the wild, nature, or even alien hieroglyphics.
Patrick Cruz is one of the founders of Kamias Special Projects @kamiaskamiaskamias an artist-run space in Quezon City, that hosts the Kamias Triennial.