By Louie Cordero


There is a curious entity that surrounds a Louie Cordero painting, which does not merely ascribe to the peculiar frame he has devised and has ingeniously designed for each piece. These frames, though—coated in a bustle of neon splashes or eccentric art deco patterns—encapsulate an idea: that the range for finding creative expression and delivering new sensory experience should exceed a canvas’s surface. In turning the frames for his paintings into objects for artistic expression, the usually restrained images engulfed by dull, disconnected strips of woodwork, suddenly breaks free from a kind of silence.

This is the whole idea, then; that imagination and consciousness are always extended, whether inside or outside the frame. The imagination that Cordero casts—in paintings, objects, sculptures, or other wall-bound works—continue to extend itself, to wander and loiter around the unclaimed recesses that lie between the familiar and the strange, the somber and the comical, the aesthetic and the grotesque. It carries out its excursions every time a curfew is set in place, wandering while logic and belief is suspended. The result is a deranged hierarchy of forms, a meltdown, accentuated by the oozing appendages and innards from each of his painted characters.

His new set of paintings, which focuses on a central figure instead of disjointed narratives, speak of its own innovation within and outside the painted surface. Animate figures, spurred into action and situations that implore their existence, become the subject matter for his usual juxtaposition of incoherent elements within the frame. We see familiar figures set against fantastical components; we perceive the images from real-life—peering eyes, a set of hands, a pair of sneakers—against abstract and formalist representations of symbols and shapes.

Each image has its own ‘customized’ frame, ornamented and imbued with character. The frame, which is a work of expression in itself, re-contextualizes painting. It removes it from its own vacuum of existence, separated from the world through a fence of wooden borders. In Louie Cordero’s works, the border becomes an extension of the world within, as it tries to encompass the visual landscape of his own locality, Malabon, Manila, all the way to the legendary airbrush craftsmanship found in Pililia, Rizal. For him, these are influences. And influences are nevertheless—the extensions of a world that found its way inside an object through art.

- Cocoy Lumbao

OTHER INFLUENCE opens at MO_Space on 28 November, Saturday and will run until 27 December 2015.