Beast Master: Ronald Ventura's Solo Show Opens on October 25 - Arts & Culture

The master of Phantasmagoria creates beasts of every kind to pull apart long-held perceptions, or blend mediums, motifs, and beliefs altogether to result in a perplexing whole.

Salcedo Auctions’ gallery arm, Salcedo Private View, proudly announces Ronald Ventura’s solo show titled “Beast Master,” which opens to the public on October 25. 

Salcedo Auctions chairman Richie Lerma, who has charted Ventura’s rise to the pole position in the contemporary Philippine art market – and indeed, the rarefied circle of the region’s top artists – enthuses about the show: “From the time Ronald Ventura first gained widespread critical acclaim for his ‘Human Study’ series back in 2004 for which he received the Ateneo Art Awards, to his first regional arts residency which I was proud to be part of, having traveled with him to Sydney, Melbourne and the outback of Australia which gave rise to his many antipodean leitmotifs – among these, the yellow of quarantine tape and street crossings, the sniffer dogs, as well as the brilliance of the continent’s sun dappled urban and desert landscape, to the figurative surrealist journey of pop cultural palimpsests through which his always inquisitive mind processes the  realities that he finds himself in, Ronald Ventura is the embodiment of what it means to be a Filipino contemporary master – trendsetting, always having his finger on the pulse of society and interpreting this with the slick graphical precision hewn in the Philippine academe and by his now global practice that has taken him to the art centers of New York, Milan, Tokyo, Taipei, and Hong Kong. Through the twists, turns, and thrills and spills of the local art circuit, only one driver  has set the pace for all those who have followed him, and remains firmly in control. And that is why Ronald Ventura is at Salcedo.” 

Ronald Ventura

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With a formidable following, and more famously, more than a decade of double-comma sales in both local and international auctions, Ronald Ventura has become a bonafide art world powerhouse. His remarkable run started with the record-breaking sale at Sotheby’s Hong Kong back in 2011, when his painting, “Grayground,” sold for HK 8,420,000 (PHP 47,152,000 / USD 1,082,000) – the highest amount paid for a Southeast Asian contemporary artist at that time. Lavish media coverage followed (like the favorable 2011 review published in The New York Times) along with a slew of both local and international exhibitions. 

“Territorial Crossing”

Ventura’s star beamed even brighter ten years after: At the Christie’s Hong Kong auction in  May 2021,  “Party Animals” drew an epic 5-minute or so bidding battle that quickly escalated to surpass the million US dollar mark he had set a decade back, culminating in a jaw-dropping HK 19,450,000 (Php 123,293,550 / USD 2,502,573) sale. 

Just three months later, Ventura conquered Japan with the opening of his first large-scale solo exhibition at the Karuizawa New Art Museum in Nagano. The sprawling 120-piece show  gave viewers the full breadth of Ventura’s expansive and fantastical universe, depicted in large to intimately-scaled sculptures alongside works on canvas. He brings the same brio to his much-awaited “Beastmaster,”  Ventura’s first solo selling Philippine exhibition to open in 2022.

“VELOCHE”

For the show, the artist explored the meaning of, and ideas associated with, his thematic choice, creating beasts of every kind to pull apart long-held perceptions, or blend mediums, motifs, and beliefs altogether to result in a perplexing whole.  “Territorial Crossing,” for example, was inspired by Christian iconography where St. Luke, the evangelist, is symbolized as a bull – a sacrificial animal. Ventura’s hybrid creature, though, seems ready to resist attempts at subjugation, the bold yellow on black stripes alerting the viewer to the aggressive stance as signified by forward-leaning posture and the extra horns sticking from its appendages. 

Ventura delves into the dynamics of power and control between a master and his mechanical beast in a series of paintings revolving around one of  his favorite subjects, cars. In “Beastmaster (2),” Ventura portrays a car driver in the act of wearing or removing a helmet. It is a safety routine that also suggests the driver’s consideration of a beast’s power for destruction. An untitled canvas is a disturbing collision of Ventura’s baroque and classical tendencies, depicting the aftermath of reckless navigation, or perhaps a beast gone amok.  

“Smoke”

“Beastmaster (4)” is a reincarnation of the mythological sphinx, as guardian and master of its tire track-marked urban domain. The artist allows for relief with sculptures like “Beastmaster (A).”  A monkey (inspired by the Bored Ape NFTs) is dressed as an explorer as it surveys the landscape. It assumes the pose associated with safari hunters who assert dominance by resting a foot on their so-called trophies. In a comic twist, the usual animal trophy is replaced with a banana peel, with the monkey’s traditional enemy depicted as a meek sidekick waiting by its feet. The monkey provokes with a wide grin, to remind the viewer of the humor that also resides in Ventura’s phantasmagorical realm. 

“Beastmaster” runs from October 25 to November 9, 2022, with previews from Tuesday to Saturday,  9 A.M. to 5 P.M. at the main gallery of Salcedo Auctions located in NEX Tower, 6786 Ayala Avenue, Makati City.

For inquiries, email [email protected] or get in touch at +632 8 8230956 | +63 917 591 2191. Follow @salcedoauctions @gavelandblock on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

Photos courtesy of Salcedo Auctions.

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