Ronald Ventura (b.1973, Philippines)

Born in 1973 in Manila, the Philippines, where he continues to live and work, Ventura ranks as one of the most acclaimed artists of his generation in South-East Asia. With their unique combinations of figurative motifs, his paintings and sculptures are now among the most recognizable images of contemporary art in the region.

His work features a complex layering of images and styles, ranging from hyper realism to cartoons and graffiti. Ventura takes the layering process in his work as a metaphor for the multifaceted national identity of the Philippines. Over the centuries, the profound influences of various occupying powers – Spain, Japan, and the United States – along with the underlying indigenous culture, have produced a complex and at times uneasy sense of identity. Ventura explores this historical and psychic phenomenon through a dialogue of images evoking East and West, high and low, old and young – seen, for example, in allusions to Old Master paintings or Japanese and American cartoons. He draws our attention to the “second skin” of cultural signifiers that each person carries with him, however unwittingly. Ventura views skin as an expressive surface – written on with tattoos, concealed under layers of imagery, or exploding outwards to reveal an inner world of fantasy and conflict.

Ventura presented his first US solo exhibition, 'Metaphysics of Skin' at Tyler Rollins Fine Art in 2009, followed by 'A Thousand Islands' in 2011. Other solo exhibitions of note include: 'Bulul, Ronald Ventura and the Traditional Art of the Philippines', Museo delle Culture, Lugano, Switzerland (2014); 'Watching the Watchmen', Vargas Museum, Manila, the Philippines (2012); 'Recyclables'', Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore (2012); and 'Mapping the Corporeal', National University of Singapore Museum (2008). He has also participated in such group exhibitions as 'Surreal Versus Surrealism in Contemporary Art', Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain (2011); the Nanjing Biennial (2010); and the Prague Biennale (2009)


Ventura, Ronald b.1973

related artists / Philippines / South Asia