Antonio in his studio, 2010
June 28, 1965 |
Marcel Antonio (born June 28, 1965) is a Filipino painter once considered one of the most promising in Philippine contemporary art. A graduate of the University of the Philippines' College of Fine Arts, Antonio has produced a distinctive collection of narrative and pseudo-narrative figurative paintings influenced by modernism and 1980s postmodernism.
As one of the Philippines' young painters most proficient in the expressionist genre, Antonio is currently considered a prize of collectors in the Manila art market, which following granted the painter mainstream gallery success. Since Antonio's career started, art dealers have indulged the painter an unending series of sold-out exhibitions.
Antonio's works involve a clear expressionism with mysterious themes, often utilizing fabular images that combine myth with reality. Seeming stories behind his paintings have also captured mainstream gallery-goers' attention.
Philippine critics also regard Antonio as one among the most important contemporary Filipino painters, bestowing on the artist a number of critical acclaim for his magnetic narratives in oil and acrylic. In Manila he has exhibited at major galleries like Galleria Duemila, The Drawing Room, Gallery BIG, Galleria Quattrocento and Glorietta Art Center, where his following include both local and international buyers. He has also exhibited in Berlin, Australia and Singapore.
Life and work
Antonio is the son of Philippine painters Angelito Antonio and Norma Belleza and brother to painters Emil Antonio and Fatima Baquiran.
While still a sophomore in the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, Antonio emerged as one of the school's most promising art students when he launched a solo exhibition. His professional career was quickly catapulted into the Manila market, and Antonio had to deal with the pressures of his studies while being enthused by already-burgeoning requests from art dealers.
By the time Antonio approached his forties in the late 1990s, he had already gone through a number of transitions in search of his signature art, but all within the terms of figuration, centrally human figuration. In the shaping of his art he has also quoted mannerisms from both of his parents' works. In an interview, Antonio intimated: "I remember the times when my father would teach me how to draw a muscled man. I guess my passion for figures and storytelling comes from that."
Antonio's inspiration often derives from various contemporary "mythologies", with the artist articulately stressing that his concept of mythology goes beyond the common Greek and Roman notion. He states: "Myth can be anything, just like what Joseph Campbell enunciated in The Power of Myth, where he discussed comparative mythology and the continuing role of myth in human society."
On originality, quoting and the appropriation of themes and images
On the issue of originality in art and quoting/appropriating, Antonio has said, "My father used to tell me to not be afraid to copy as it is the safest way to study. Even the masters did it. . . . Originality is a 19th-century idea that just won't die when right now there's really nothing that can be deemed totally original. Striving for originality in art is delusional. You can only do so much."
"Blue funk erotica" and the The Romantic Lie show
Blue Funk Erotica or Trance Erotica was the art-critical term introduced by Filipino poet and cultural critic V.I.S. de Veyra in a 2010 blog essay titled "Blue Funk'd Silent Stories" to describe Antonio's art. The blog essay reviewed the achievements of the Filipino painter from the earlier years on to his latest 2010 show. The phrase-tag, which the critic posited in his art and culture blogsite A Party-Crashing Angle, instigated a dialogue between the artist and the critic, which culminated in a late-2011 series of paintings by Antonio. Antonio and de Veyra decided to collaborate on an early 2012 show using Antonio's new series, with the poet supplying 14 new poems for the show catalogue. De Veyra, being also an amateur painter who once studied in the same fine arts college as Antonio, also collaborated with Antonio on a five-painting series of shaped canvases for the show. The two titled the show "The Romantic Lie: Desire, Ennui, Anxiety".
Idealized as a face- and gestures-leaning figurative narrative art that avoids the "folk happiness" or "expressionism" of past and recent Philippine figurative art, de Veyra described Antonio's "blue funk erotica" or "trance erotica" as solely embracing the melancholic or otherwise the vexed expression. Touted as the subtle sort of fetish erotica that relies on the drama of melancholia instead of on pure eroticism as secret springboards for erotic imaginings, trance painting is deemed by de Veyra to have been culled from the art of Blue Period Picasso, Diego Velázquez as much as Raphael, Chagall, Giorgio de Chirico, Nobuyoshi Araki and the "defamiliarization" technique of the Russian Formalists.
- Cultural Center of the Philippines
- Brix Gallery, Manila
- Liongoren Art Gallery, Manila
- "Recent Artworks", The Drawing Room, Manila (June 3–21, 2000)
- "Langue et Parole", West Gallery, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City (July 13–25, 2000)
- "Dialogo", The Drawing Room, Manila
- "Les Petites Histoires", Ad Infinitum Galleries, Manila
- "Märchen", Jasmine Fine Arts, Singapore
- "Sturm und Drang", Galleria Quattrocento, Makati (September 26 - Oct. 9, 2009)
- Glorietta Art Center, Makati (July, 2010)
- "The Romantic Lie: Desire, Ennui, Anxiety", Water Dragon Gallery, Yuchengco Museum, Makati (February, 2012)
Selected Group Exhibitions
- Raab Galleries, West Berlin, Germany
- Art Exchange, Australia
- Alliance Française de Manille
- Pinaglabanan Art Galleries, Manila
- Art Sentral Asia on Antonio
- Kulay-Diwa.com article on Antonio
- The press announcement for the 2012 show "The Romantic Lie: Desire, Ennui, Anxiety", retrieved from The Manila Times
- Another press announcement appearance for "Desire, Ennui, Anxiety", retrieved from Sining Factory Online
- The blog essay "Blue Funk'd Silent Stories" in culture critic V.I.S. de Veyra's art blog A Party-Crashing Angle
- Review titled "Marcel Antonio: Looking Into The Romantic Life", after a misreading of the show title by the reviewer. Retrieved from The Manila Bulletin Online
- A brief review of "Marcel Antonio's Romantic Lie", retrieved from MasPaborito.com
- Christiane de la Paz' interview with Antonio for Artes de las Filipinas
- Part 2 of de la Paz' interview with Antonio
- Review on Antonio's Sturm und Drang show by Tara F.T. Sering in The Philippine Star
- Review on Antonio in Malaya