The artist at home, and her “The Rage Within Us”, 2020 66” x 66”, oil and acrylic on canvas
Culture Art

Tracie Anglo-Dizon’s paintings of defaced ceramics reflect the fragile objects we’ve become

In her second solo show, the artist can’t help but react to the mood of the times. By JEROME GOMEZ
ANCX | Jul 29 2020

Tracie Anglo-Dizon knows beauty when she sees it. The Negros-born—and raised— artist has a solid background in arts and design, having studied drawing and painting at the Art Students League, and graduated from the Parsons School of Design in New York. Over the years, she’s made over magazines, designed books, and for her family, created beautiful interiors that make it to lifestyle pages. She’s worked as creative director in Singapore, Manila and the Big Apple. 

But while she has a great appreciation for the finer things, the artist in her seems to recently have unresolved issues with perfection—something she confronts in her second solo exhibition. 

In Ornament and Crime, her trained eye for selecting objects of exquisite beauty and refinement is on full display. She paints them first on canvas, along with the obvious details that has rendered them pieces of collectible charms—and then she disfigures them, as if to create tension, or rebel against accepted norms of aesthetics and propose a different concept of allure. 

“Melting Lotus Blooms”, 2020, 66” x 66”, oil and acrylic on canvas

“The drips and strokes negate the beauty of the paintings – they are transgressions against beauty,” says Anglo-Dizon. While her maiden exhibition—also in the art space Pablo in BGC, a well-attended show in 2018—was a celebration of bounty, with images of nature’s gifts such as garlics, fish, onions, mushrooms almost jumping out of her canvases, this new collection of paintings reveal the more gritty side of the artist. 

Various images of Chinese ceramics are front and center in this collection, inspired devices for her to execute her plan: deliberately break their exquisiteness, these things she obviously has an actual fondness for. “I find the ceramics from the Qing, Yuan, and Ming dynasties to be the most beautiful,” she says. “The works from the Wanli period, with its Wucai style of ornamentation, are especially striking to me.” 

“Before the Storm”, 2020, 20” x 20”, oil and acrylic on canvas

Unlike in her previous solo, this time Anglo-Dizon defaces objects of purity with streaks and paint drips or, as she puts it, “vandalising an image to break the illusion of the picture.”

This well-traveled artist says the objects in Ornament and Crime are far from faithful recreations of the ancient works. “I try to paint these images as realistically as possible, but I like retaining the mistakes, as it shows the human hand.” She says she started adding drips on plates back in 2015, “because I wanted to paint a crying plate. I liked that the drip added another layer to the painting and broke the illusion of a realistic rendering.”

“The burden of a hundred antiques”, 2020, 18” x 24”, oil and acrylic on canvas

The artist admits she painted the pieces for the show during the lockdown which no doubt has given another layer of emotion to the works, certainly a palpable urgency. They kind of reflect the mood of the times we live in, and the people we have become in these times—fragile objects trying to keep our perfect selves intact but in truth nearly bursting, breaking, definitely unraveling, and like that dragon image on a jar in the painting she calls “The Rage Within Us,” ready to breathe fire.

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Ornament and Crime runs until August 15, 2020 at Pablo Gallery - The Fort. The gallery is located at Unit C-11, South of the Market Condominiums, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. To enable people to view this and succeeding exhibits during quarantine, Pablo has launched its own virtual gallery. The project was developed by Acid House and Pablo, with assistance from GFKids. The virtual gallery is viewable at www.pablogalleriesph.com. Visitors may still view the works in person but by appointment only, and only up to 3 people will be allowed inside the gallery. Safety procedures will be practiced and social distancing shall be maintained.