"The paintings of Ronald Ventura appear as theatrical tableaux that entice, surprise and disrupt. They deploy a bricolage of visual elements drawn from popular culture, illustrations and commercial photography mobilised as virtual signs of contemporary life, conflating and reconfiguring, indeterminate in their destinations. They sit uneasily as facile objects of technical wonder and documents of social criticism."
(Ahmad Mashadi, Foreword in Mapping the Corporeal: Ronald Ventura, solo exhibition catalogue, NUS Museum, Singapore, 2008)
As curator Ahmad Mashadi observes, Ronald Ventura's paintings bear an arresting quality in the manner they combine visual imageries from different sources, ultimately broadening our understanding of painting as a practice. The artist's thematic interests range widely, from a concern with contemporaneous issues emerging in Philippine society to more personal and psychological explorations.
These wide ranging interests are evident in the ceaseless technical explorations Ventura engages in; from earlier paintings striving towards photographic realist depictions of the human figure to the expanded understanding of the figure as a modular unit beyond a "naturalist or biologically deterministic ideology, but as a radical terrain from which a multitude of contestations and meanings may be derived" (Shabbir Hussain Mustafa, Mapping the Corporeal in Ibid.)
The present lot, Depth, illustrates a distinct understanding of the human figure as a psychological unit beyond its surface appearance. The realm of the mind is the subject of interest in Depth; where the artist has visualised the mental world of a figure. Above the figure is a turbulent maritime world; in the inclemental and tempestuous weather, a number of ships are being tossed about at the absolute mercy of unseen forces of nature. Quite probably, this cyclonic world, visualised in monochrome and characterised by what art historian Patrick Flores terms the "controlled chromatic climate" (Patrick Flores, Thingy in Ibid.), becomes a metaphor for the tumultuous mental realm of the figure who head is buried in arms clutched and raised to the head in a pose of great emotionalism.