A Bout De Souffle
The JOQUICOS: Breathlessly Devoted to Art
Blood is thicker than oils and acrylics: that’s the impression the viewer will get when realizing that the three artists in this group show all bear the same family name. The Joquicos --- Gerry and his two sons Gary And Grae --- cross trajectories of influences such that a commonality exists, although that may not be as expressively perceptible at initial glance. Can members of one artistic family really avoid working by osmosis, as if by having shared common umbilical cords, or just plain breathing the same space of air, the artistic ties that bind are either tightened or loosened, depending on the comfortability of each to the other as practitioners of the same art? Are the Joquicosanother artistic dynasty looming in the horizon? Such are the questions raised by their group show to which they have given the French title “A Bout de Souffle,” literally meaning “out of breath” or breathless.
Metaphorical narrative is Gerry’s strongest suit, where images partake of the transmission of allegories which emerge as unexpected guest in the viewer’s imagination. His canvases concentrate on a single solitary figure as if caught in a frozen dream. Even in a triptych such as the title piece, with its inescapable allusion to the expression “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil,” an extreme solitariness pervades the scene, a self-preoccupation that only b properly described as lost in their own world. In “The Lost Seeker,” the wooden boy Pinocchio continues to lie, his pointed nose lengthening as he dissembles, as to what is in sight of the telescope. In “Parable of the Moon,” a man nakedly ensconced atop a high stool, ruminates on the different stages of the moon, a sight perhaps more visible had he Pinocchio’s viewing equipment. In “Procrastination,” we gasp at the sight of a woman with a wooden arm, very like Pinocchio’s, an assumption driven no doubt by our wild imagination.
A spirit as bound to earth as she is consumed into the fourth dimension is the woman, with her back to the viewer, in Gary’s “Rejection.”In this work, a lamb curiously looks out of the pictorial space, as though in a theater’s fourth wall. Is this the same lamb, or its counterpart, prostrate in Gerry’s “Disenlightenment”? Like figures out of a Magritte landscape,emerge three men in dark, heavy overcoat, each one holding aloft an upturned black umbrella, as if to catch a downpour of blessings, in his “Waiting for Rain.” In both Gerry and Gary’s works, the figures have shut themselves out of the physical world as they wrestle with the universal anxieties and concerns of the human condition: deception, hypocrisy, alienation, frustration, unrealized dreams, all the miseries cast upon us by our internal demons.
Very wisely, Grae strategically positioned himself as the abstractionist in the family. Opting to work in abstraction, he was able to enter another dimension of insight and feeling. To his credit, however, though he has spurned the visible human presence, his abstractions of an open, immeasurable space harken to the ashen grey and mistral skies, at once hazy and luminous, of Gerry and Gary’s atmospheric visions. It is said that Grae was influenced by the American-born but British-based James Whistler (1834-1903), whose iconic painting the artist has wryly titled as an abstraction, “Arrangement in Grey and Black,” though infact it visibly portrays the artist’s mother, a seated solitary figure, much like the women in Gary and Gerry’s works, albeit now bent with age. She has wrapped around herself a shawl of distance and mystery, calmly immobile in her stolid chair, an austere presence awaiting inevitable death.
Indeed, on these works, Grae has bestowed the foreboding collective title “Requiem.” In specific works, allusions to ashes, flames, tears (“Lacrimosa”) rend the air of his abstractions. His triptych, a meditative oracle to nothingness, is titled “Trio Al Niente.”
As to the eyebrow-raising title, it is expected that this show must perforce make some connection with the 1960 classic movie by the French director Jean-Luc Godard. There’s a line in the film says: “What we are determines what we do.” So lucid and pointed is the significance of its message that we need not wait with bated breath for what it means to our lives.
- Cid Reyes