Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mauro Malang Santos

Strated his career as plain “Malang,” illustrator-cartoonist for the Manila Chronicle and creator of two comic-strip characters, Kosme the Cop (Retired) and Chain Gang Charlie. The leap from illustrational art to lightweight genre painting was a felicitous one in his case. The temperas he exhibited at the Philippines Art Gallery in the late 1950s were miniatures blithely illustrating the urban folk, or rather the rustic folk caught up in the hassle of the big city. Quiapo traffic, Chinatown, corner sari-sari stores, calesas, jeepneys, an old turn-of-the-century house-all these and more he did with a miniaturist’s delight in the telling detail and an eye for the amusing and cute. Gradually in the ‘60s, he emerged as a serious artist with a knack for abstract figuration, shedding off his earlier illustrations manner by as much as, say 90 %. Influences from Picasso and Matisse to Manansala and Ang Kiukok formed the basis of style generous in its enumeration of images, range of warm colors, and evocation of joyous parochialism. Cluster-images abound, particularly in his celebrations of rustic scenes, where he shows part of a landscape (always sweetly pastoral), part of a town of barrio (with its huddle of humble houses transformed into charming storybook habitations), and a cast of types featuring a seated vendor (of flowers, candles, foodstuff), a man ( strumming guitar, fondling a gamerock), a woman cradling an infant, among sari-sari stores, town plaza (with or without tree), and a church chapel (with or without devotees about) The composition usually displays a favorite device: a long row of hemmed-in forms, looking like colorful stickers or matchbox labels stuck end to end, projecting a light-hearted festiveness. It is all-so-very whimsical. The laid-back atmosphere of rural life is typified in Pastoral, a far advantage stage of abstraction in Malang’s metamosphosis. Again the seated vendor and the man with the gamerock make their appearance. Not one but several churches (one with a rose window yet) are accounted for. Once more a stack of houses makes its picturesque point. The cornucopiabaroque compulsion to crowd every square inch with decorative detail characteristics of folk-art-inspired Philippine paintings is, in this fairly recent confection, nicely reined-in spaces a compact appearance, trim and square at the edges, and to avoid congested look of wretched excess that leads to instant glut.
VENDORS (SOLD)
Print
13.75" x 17.5"
ND
HAC Code: PR014
FRUIT VENDORS(SOLD)
Print
15.25" x 12.25"
ND
HAC Code: PR015
DRIED FISH
Print
13.75" x 17.5"
ND
HAC Code: PR016
FLOWER VENDOR
Print
14.25" x 13.75"
ND
HAC Code: PR017
WATER MELON (SOLD)
Print
18.25" x 13.75"
ND
HAC Code: PR018
AT THE CHURCH
Print
13.5" x 20"
ND
HAC Code: PR019
BARRIO SCENE
Print
10.5" x 12"
ND
ALB/GBA Code: 79321
BARRIO SCENE
Print
12" x 20"
ND
ALB/GBA Code: 79306
ABSTRACT
Print
12" x 16"
ND
HAC Code: PR023
FRUIT VENDOR (SOLD)
Print
23" x 17"
ND
HAC Code: 79485

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