PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTOR
RONALD VENTURA (b. 1973)

High at Space 1

Details
RONALD VENTURA (b. 1973)
High at Space 1
signed and dated 'Ventura 2010' (upper left)
oil on canvas
152 x 122 cm. (59 7/8 x 48 in.)
Painted in 2010
Literature
Artesan Gallery + Studio, A Duad in Play: Francis Ng & Ronald Ventura, Singapore, 2010 (illustrated, p. 26).
Exhibited
Singapore, Lasalle College of the Arts, A Duad in Play: Francis Ng & Ronald Ventura, 3 February-3 March 2010.

Brought to you by

Eric Chang
Eric Chang

Lot Essay

First exhibited in an acclaimed two-man show, A Duad at Play, High at Space I(Lot 139)is a powerfully iconic work and also represents an important period within Ronald Ventura's career. Its painterly technique is at once strikingly graphic and smoothly refined. It is executed with Ventura's characteristic shades of warm silver-gray as though color has been ever so slightly bleached from his universe, taking on the vague suggestion of a sepia-hued dreamscape when seen through the lens of sleep, imagination and illusions.
2010 was an exciting year for the artist. Having made his international breakthrough with stunning solo exhibitions in New York (Metaphysics of Skin, Tyler Rollins Fine Art, 2009) and Singapore (Mapping the Corporeal, National University of Singapore Museum, 2008) in the two preceding years, Ventura's star was powerfully in the ascent as were his works, depicting urban characters merged with imaginative fantasy elements, alongside humorously whimsical 'toons and graffiti scribblings. Each subsequent work was stronger and more captivating than the last, yet a common thread running through all was the central recurring character of a male figure confronting his reality.
Within his earliest figurative works?, ?Ventura often articulated a sense of tension or bodily struggle emanating from aggressive physiological renditions of the human form. Later on, these mellowed into thoughtful compositions displaying the artist's yearning to reach greater height as within High at Space I a portrayal of an astronaut with an oxygen helmet bearing outlandish Mickey-Mouse ears. Yet this astronaut is not actually depicted as being in aloft in space. Instead the pictorial background shows a distinctly urban metropolis: a freighter train passes through the landscape, and a steel fire escape leads to an industrial looking construction site. This clearly shows that while the artist's mind imagines taking flight, his feet are still solidly anchored to reality, even if this is a gritty city-life.
What has remained consistent throughout all of Ventura's works is his virtuosic technique in figurative painting. His smooth, ?photorealistic renditions of human anatomy, which first draws the viewer's attention, juxtaposes cleverly with complex interior motifs and details which can enthrall one for hours. As seen in High at Space I, a brain, a bear reclining on a tractor and, in an interesting comparison to Penitent Crossing (Lot 178) an interrogation of Ventura's native Catholic faith, as well as the artist's own self-reflection the image of a blinkered man, carrying a cross on his back in the classic act of religious contrition and penance on Good Friday. This humbling counterpart to the central theme of the heroic and forward-looking astronaut leaves much to ponder for viewers attempting to penetrate Ventura's complex universe.
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