The Nostalgia You Carry With You
- 1 December 2021
Known for his prowess in storytelling as he paints narratives that appeal to his viewers’ collective memory, Ricky Ambagan recently opened From Here, his second solo exhibition at Salcedo Private View, the gallery and private sale subsidiary of Salcedo Auctions. The show runs through 18 December 2021.
This is the artist’s response to his earlier sold-out show at Salcedo titled I’m Coming Home. Versed in carefully composed stories, Ambagan’s works do not subscribe to any set pattern, instead preferring to deconstruct images from various sources. Lately he assumes the role of a cinematographer in the way that he presents his subjects. Intentionally breaking the rules of perception and perspective, Ambagan’s prowess lies in his moments of delight — theatricality on canvas is his central aesthetic.
Ambagan creates this next edition of his fantastical visual narratives encased by the artist’s iconic and astonishingly embellished, luggage-shaped frames. The show features ten rectangular canvas works depicting charmingly detailed scenes that make viewers feel as if they’re looking at snapshots taken from a familiar dream. Each of the bespoke canvases were customized to the highest level in order to imitate the form of travelling bags as an effective graphic handle to create wonder and draw out deep-seated reminiscences as he invites viewers to voyage back in time.
Artifacts and mementoes from the artist’s childhood are painted onto the surface, the level of detail in each piece as intentional as they are striking. He brightly celebrates the interior drama of these experiences – unpacking memories with charm and whimsy, his canvases sprawling with iconographies from diverse milieus. As a professed avid reader, Ambagan takes not only from his recollections, but also from the books, podcasts, and films that he consumes.
The work We All Live in a Yellow Submarine can be as psychedelic in as much as it refers to the popular Beatles tune. Ambagan relishes in the magic as well as in the mystery the work induces with the presence of the eclectic arcana shown in the painting.
By nature we are all anthropologists and historians as we tend to hoard meaningful things that remind us of our valued relationships. They could be bus tickets, corks from a celebratory wine bottle and even old clothes worn by departed loved ones. In Kept, Ambagan visualizes the phenomenon that as we grow older, the more stories we have to tell, and consequently the more full our lives seem to be.
Lost in Paradise is Ambagan’s way of tiptoeing around the idea of how secrets can remain so in this age of social media; and that what has already happened should stay there n oblivion.
Ambagan’s choice of displaying his artworks within maleta (‘luggage’) frames gives a new, positive meaning to the idea of carrying personal baggage. He dares his viewers to ask themselves what their own personal baggages may be after confronting them with visualizations of his own personal experiences, eliciting powerful emotions and sparking conversations with his viewers.
From Here by Ricky Ambagan runs can be viewed until Saturday, 18 December 2021 at Salcedo Auctions, NEX Tower, 6786 Ayala Avenue, Makati City. To view the online catalogue and the virtual gallery, simply click here.