Don’t Block the Driveway • Richard Quebral

Jun 18 to Jul 7, 2020 • Upstairs Gallery

Inspired by the lives of people in his hometown of Ilocos Sur, Richard Quebral’s works are playful yet dark reflections of contemporary material culture contoured and colored by the desire for a better life. Accentuated by the flatness of synthetic paint, Quebral’s pop-infused art style subversively deploys familiar visual codes of commercial graphic design casting light on the superficiality and malicious effects of glamorous lifestyle commercially promoted in glossy ads.

This exhibition features new set of artworks created through Quebral’s critical observations about the process of property development in the province, fragmentation of the life of local community into territories in contestation. His creative brush portrays a suburban home built on a lot as a monstrous body that restrains, mutilates, flattens and devours people into a brute mechanism. The dream of owning a home is depicted as a horrific nightmare, transposing the notions of isolation, destruction and anxiety onto the ideals popularly represented by a house – comfort, security, status and permanence. Never fulfilled, the desire for material wealth restlessly energizes the faceless coercive force that attempts to manipulate the values forming the foundation of life.

In Quebral’s paintings, this perpetual circle of desire and vulnerability is translated into an optical space reminiscent of those produced by 8-bit video games. It grants the viewer the perspective of a player, holding the controller while comfortably seated in a couch. However, Quebral’s work presents the absence of a player-character and of the goal, leaving the questions to the viewer. Is the game already over or is it just paused? Would pressing the start button reset the game? Standing amidst the silent dialogues between pictorial and physical materialities, the viewer can no longer hold an objective perspective of a detached observer, and instead, is immersed in the quest of finding a goal in the game of life, designed by Quebral’s unmediated experience and keen observations of the everyday life.

—Mayumi Hirano

Artworks from the Show

Perspective 1: Standby at Benita's Checking Area Waiting for Nothing

Perspective 1: Standby at Benita's Checking Area Waiting for Nothing, Richard Quebral, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 60×65 in

Perspective 2: Erwin's Tuesday Morning, 5am-7am, Same Time, Same Channel, Limited Stretching...

Perspective 2: Erwin's Tuesday Morning, 5am-7am, Same Time, Same Channel, Limited Stretching..., Richard Quebral, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 60×65 in

Perspective 3: Before Lunch, Just Seatback and Relax at Uncle Johny's House...

Perspective 3: Before Lunch, Just Seatback and Relax at Uncle Johny's House..., Richard Quebral, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 60×65 in

Perspective 4: First 12 Hours for the Month of May, Let's Call it a Marvin's Day...

Perspective 4: First 12 Hours for the Month of May, Let's Call it a Marvin's Day..., Richard Quebral, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 60×65 in

Perspective 5: Adonis's First Sunday at the Destruction Driving School Property...

Perspective 5: Adonis's First Sunday at the Destruction Driving School Property..., Richard Quebral, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 60×65 in

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 1

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 1, Richard Quebral, 2020, Enamel, epoxy, cable wire, shaped wood, 17½×8¾×10½ in

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 2

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 2, Richard Quebral, 2020, Enamel, epoxy, cable wire, shaped wood, 17½×8¾×10½ in

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 3

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 3, Richard Quebral, 2020, Enamel, epoxy, cable wire, shaped wood, 17½×8¾×10½ in

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 4

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 4, Richard Quebral, 2020, Enamel, epoxy, cable wire, shaped wood, 17½×8¾×10½ in

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 5

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 5, Richard Quebral, 2020, Enamel, epoxy, cable wire, shaped wood, 17½×8¾×10½ in

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 6

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 6, Richard Quebral, 2020, Enamel, epoxy, cable wire, shaped wood, 17½×8¾×10½ in

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 7

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 7, Richard Quebral, 2020, Enamel, epoxy, cable wire, shaped wood, 17½×8¾×10½ in

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 8

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 8, Richard Quebral, 2020, Enamel, epoxy, cable wire, shaped wood, 17½×8¾×10½ in

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 9

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 9, Richard Quebral, 2020, Enamel, epoxy, cable wire, shaped wood, 17½×8¾×10½ in

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 10

Adonis's Sunday Driving Eye 10, Richard Quebral, 2020, Enamel, epoxy, cable wire, shaped wood, 17½×8¾×10½ in