Ramona Dela Cruz-Gaston’s painted mandalas are kaleidoscope-like tessellations that swirl with radiant colors. In her first solo exhibition, the artist meditates on the drama of womanhood and the journey from maiden to mother.
She navigates the technical difficulties of the mandala, a form of sacred art, and organizes her personal iconography into hypnotizing geometric designs. Her meticulous canvases swim with symbols, bounded always by the strict symmetry she imposes on herself. The mandala is her way of taking control and making sense out of chaos.
Influenced by Art Nouveau, an architectural movement inspired by organic forms and curved lines, Dela Cruz-Gaston’s signature is unapologetically feminine and emotional. Also leaving indelible marks on her practice are Frida Kahlo, a bold and fiery personality known for her self-portraits, and Patrick Woodroffe, beloved by science-fiction readers for his dreamlike book cover paintings. Combined, these forces have contributed to the vivid rendering of Dela Cruz-Gaston’s surreal canvases.
Ramona in the Details, as her first solo exhibition is titled, is autobiographical but never obvious. Her narrative art covers the past four years and the roles she has had to play: lover, wife, mother, artist. Her achievements as a painter build on her draftsmanship, as demonstrated by graphite-on-paper works also on exhibit.
An accompanying book, also titled Ramona in the Details, is a diary of sorts that ruminates on her beginnings as an artist and the stories behind her work. Her obsessions with miniature toys and animals, deaths and miscarriages, experimentations with various media (among them her own blood) are documented in a frank account of her life.
While Dela Cruz-Gaston’s paintings are not self-portraits, they remain personal, intimate, and, if read properly, revealing. Dela Cruz-Gaston could be channeling Kahlo, who once said: I’ll paint myself because I am the subject I know best. ll
Ramona in the Details opening reception is on October 8, 2011 730pm at Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery at The Collective 7274 Malugay St Makati.
To see her artworks on display click HERE .
To see event pictures click HERE.