Over The Sofa Paintings • Jayson Oliveria

Nov 11 to Dec 4, 2014 • Tall Gallery

In almost every living room is a couch and television. A painting may hang on a wall, on a blank spot above the sofa. ‘Sofa painting’ is a term for paintings that match an interior color scheme or go with the furniture, usually a landscape or still-life, an easel painting in a gilded frame, a generic abstraction or a reproduction of a famous artwork – often decorative, occasionally adventurous, but hardly ever provokes thought. It recedes in the background, numbing the mind and sucking the spirit.

When Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, invited his patients to lounge in a couch so they can talk freely and tell him what was in their mind, it caused a revolution in twentieth century thinking. In those days, stretching out and lying about in the company of guests was looked upon in distaste. Even sitting upright on a sofa was deemed presumptuous. Books on fine manners and social etiquette instructed readers how visitors should be received in a standing position, never resting on a chaise lounge; a straight-backed chair was considered the more appropriate choice for sitting. In one such book, ‘Good Form & Proper Deportment’ (Berlin, 1919), the author Herr Schramm noted, “A gentleman never takes a seat on a sofa.” In a provocative position, people were liberated from conventional trains of thought, Freud found, and as the analyst withdrew himself and receded in the background, it prompted a loss of self-consciousness in his subjects that gave way to unrestrained conversation.

The universal sofa painting and the iconic couch of psychoanalysis come together in this rare exhibition entitled, ‘Over the Sofa Paintings.’ The artist Jayson Oliveria probes the psyche of painters, galleries, and the art world and generates joy and simplicity, color and anxiety, lyrical stupidity and primitive geometry. He offers leaps of logic, caveman insights, prehistoric luxury, domestic theory, religious ballast, economics for donkeys, music for pigs, and philosophy for pests; and uses occult entertainment, sexual devices, toilet training, aesthetic discomfort, and counter-revolutionary boredom to bring about psychological breakthroughs in the human complex. One may find a pattern here or see only madness. It doesn’t matter because the substance is subliminal and will shortly take effect.

‘Over the Sofa Paintings’ are on exhibit at the Finale Art File, Tall Gallery on November 11 until December 4, 2014.

About the Artist
b. 1973, lives and works in Manila

Oliveria applies end game strategies for making paintings and incorporates objects or sculptural elements to betray the uniformity of painting. Like most works that straddle along the discourse of the end of art, the works have an internal logic to them that only the artist could explain – if it can be teased. Rather, there is a sense of gamesmanship and perhaps, dandyism where the artist knows all the contradictions within the work while displaying a keen taste for the obsolescence of style. Oliveria was a CCP Thirteen Artist awardee in 2006 and was among the 1st batch of resident artists of Big Sky Mind Artists Projects Foundation in Cubao from 2003 to 2004. The following year he was sent to Fukuoka, Japan for an artist residency facilitated by curator Mizuki Endo in Tetra Art Space. In 2004, he was among the first recipient of the annual Ateneo Art awards for his exhibit Instinct vs. Learning held at Mag:net QC, and in the following year was nominated for the same award for his solo show Killa Foto at Green Papaya Artists Projects. Consistently being exhibited extensively both locally and abroad, he has been featured in a handful of important survey shows such as in Nadi Gallery in Jakarta, in Tate Turbine Hall in London thru Green Papaya, in Sydney and Tasmania, in HK, in the USA and in Beijing, China.

—Masi Solano