The folk-narrative practice of painter Alexander Jorge "Aljo" Pingol is increased recognition within the art community.
Lauded for his sense of classical composition (with his work referencing Franco-Russian Modernist Marc Chagall), Pingol's works demonstrate a myriad of styles and movements, from surrealism to primitivism, to a naïf sense of the idyll.
Above all, however, is Pingol's metaphorical adherence to folk motifs. The foundation of his works is, after all, tropical genre with recurring images of the Philippine countryside and scenes of rural preoccupations. That he balances it out with his undoubtedly vivid imagination puts him a cut above the rest in today's contemporary visual art scene. His range of interests leaves the collector with a fantastic choice of works from a brilliant visual artist.
So adept at capturing the resonance of Philippine life is Pingol that even the emotional fortitude of the moment is preserved in his paintings. Pingol, after all, is not concerned with a mimetic record, but attempts to depict the emotions and optimism of the Filipino spirit.
It is fitting, therefore, that his latest solo show is entitled Buhay Pinoy, encapsulating this successful depiction of Philippine life, dreams, and ambitions. Buhay Pinoy will feature new works by the intrepid artist and will be held at Galerie Joaquin Podium from August 25 to September 3, with an artist's reception on Wednesday, August 29, at The Atrium of Podium Mall in Ortigas Center.
A product of the Fine Arts program of the University of Santo Tomas, Aljo Pingol takes his considerable experience in illustration, advertising, and animation (having been an animator at the Toonworks Animation House) to bring his folk-figurative subjects to life. His works are a brilliant collection of portraits, landscapes, and genre pieces that are riddled with playful surrealist tendencies and laced with an innocent sense of humor. The artist has been recognized numerous times for his work, including placing second in Nuclear-Free Philippines spot poster competition and first in the Far East Broadcasting Company's National Christmas Card Painting Competition. He is also a founding member of the Guevarra Group of Artists in San Juan, alongside heavyweights in visual art such as Dominic Rubio, Edwin Tres Reyes, and Jerry Morada.
Indicative of Pingol's practice is his "Balloons and Flowers" series. The national pastime of the 'Pasyal' after mass is depicted, with children and their parents and grandparents purchasing balloons from a smiling vendor. The countryside folk are portrayed as smiling and optimistic, the landscape awash in the bright colors of a sunny day while surrounding them is the lively flora of the landscape. The balloon motif reappears in "Floating Market," a cacophony of the hustle and bustle of a river market scene. The panoramic style suits the vision of the artist in capturing the complete market experience.
Buhay Pinoy is a fantastic opportunity to gauge the practice of one of the country's best genre painters. The great addition to an expanding oeuvre, Buhay Pinoy captures the essence of being Filipino and validates the adulation of Pingol's practice.