los-angeles

Manuel Ocampo

Fred Hoffman Gallery

Like many complex, authentic gestures, ultimately Manuel Ocampo’s paintings, which relentlessly display physical and spiritual agony, are simple, organic, and speak of things close to home. Chaotic, angry, and 100 percent morbid, Ocampo’s paintings are also fun to look at. Though they resemble folk retablos, they are broader in scope and less specifically private. No direct prayers to Jesus to help a brother or sister regain their consciousness, no thank-yous for rescuing a loved one from under a bus, figure in these images. The grim events depicted here are far from accidental; colonial rulers of the Philippines, from Spain to the U.S., are depicted as large babies in loincloths, with oversized globes for heads and Duchampian mustaches painted on their chubby faces. These bloated grinning figures ingratiate themselves with their audience like obscene dolls begging to be deflated.

Ocampo’s

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