NEW YORK, NY (April 16, 2010) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to announce Sacred Bones, a series of new paintings, sculptures and drawings by Louie Cordero, in what will be the Manila-based artist’s debut solo exhibition in New York.
Cordero’s puzzling, imploring, and visually striking juxtapositions are often punctuated by blood and gore, as if to imply the history of violence and bloodshed that his nation and people have sustained. Cordero’s artwork makes references to his native Philippines, a nation rich with diversity—the result of multiple changes in political regime and subjugation throughout its history. With a complex mixture of eastern and western influences, the cultural fabric of The Republic of The Philippines is a unique combination of ethnic heritage and traditions, composed of indigenous folklore, Asian customs and Spanish legacy reflective in the names and religion.
Figures from Filipino mythology and its strong oral tradition are referenced through the artist’s gruesome monsters and zombies, while another source of inspiration derived from his nationality involves the Jeepney (U.S. military vehicles abandoned after WWII, and converted by locals to use as public transportation). Each Jeepney, unique and elaborately decorated in vibrant colors, features an ornate mash-up of pop and religious iconography. By combining these elements, varied and obscure (to westerners), with imagery appropriated from Cordero’s assorted interests including kitsch, Indian advertising, cult American b-movies and pulp horror, the contrasting influences reflect the complex diversity of the artist’s heritage, itself.
“Expect mutilation. Expect dismemberment… Navigating the twisted landscape of Louie Cordero’s visceral scenes, one momentarily enters the Filipino identity. Informed by a history of colonization, Catholic domination, and whispers of Western culture that seem to have ciphered through a game of telephone. Cordero painstakingly renders each and every intestine, membrane and capillary. His palette reflects a visual culture where advertisements, fashion, and even architecture are a patchwork of international footprints.” — Kirsten Incorvaia, 2009.
Louie Cordero was born in Manila Philippines, where he currently lives and works. He is an award-winning painter, sculptor, animator, and creator of Nardong Tae—a self-published underground comic series which he writes and illustrates himself, with cult following in the Philippines and Japan. A graduate of College of Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines, Cordero was a resident artist in the Big Sky Mind artist foundation of the Philippines’ residency program from 2002 to 2004 and also held a residency in the United States in 2003 at the Vermont Studio Center. The artist is a recipient of numerous awards including an Ateneo Art Award in 2004, and the Thirteen Artists Award from the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2006.