About "Social Animals," Caloy Gernale's 8th one-man exhibit

“Works of literature & art, as ideological forms, are products of the reflection in the human brain of the life of a given society.”
-Mao Tse Tung

As always, Carlo “Caloy” Gernale will be integrating his airbrushing expertise in depicting today’s social realities. In his 8th one-man art exhibition entitled Social Animals, Gernale bares the “products of his reflections” of the recurring collective predicament of both dominant and marginalized classes in society. He will be employing images of various familiar animals to signify not only the characteristics, but more importantly, the consensual ideology, desire, and ambition of each class in the existing social order.

Animals as a metaphor have long been utilized by many artists and writers to describe the social behavior of human beings. Plato defined man as a social animal. Aesop maximized the metaphorical power of the image of animals to teach valuable human lessons. In the Bible, animals appear in numerous parables. Even in pre-colonial Filipino literature, animals played a significant role in shaping both the individual “weltanschauung” (worldview) and the collective way of life of many ethnic tribes in the country.

One of Gernales’s works tentatively entitled “The Ruling Class” showcases predatory creatures (American bald eagle, rhinoceros, great white shark, crocodile, etc.) that imply the values of the dominant class. Another one with “Peasant Movement” as its working title shows farm animals (carabao, toads, rats, etc.) armed with bolos and hammer, against a silhouette of neocolonial enclaves of factories. Each work is intended not only to expose (as many artists have already done) but to evaluate the social order.

Gernale will be placing his artistic reflections on 5 egg-shaped canvases (dimensions: 36” x 48”). The shape of the canvas would already serve as a metaphor that should initially bring (figurative) meaning to the viewer. The egg-shaped canvas is a cross-reference to one of Salvador Dali’s eminent works which depicted an egg-shaped world to signify the bringing of a new life, or “a new world order” as many critics have put it.

However, in Gernale’s Social Animals, the image of the egg is intentionally meant to signify a dialectical-materialist worldview—dialectical because Gernale’s works are aimed at vividly describing the 2 classes in Philippine society, the dominant class and the marginalized class; materialist because each image on each painting is based on the material and historical roles the peasant movement, the working class, the petty-bourgeoisie, the special minority (indigenous peoples, women, and fisher-folks) and the ruling class have played in society.

Caloy Gernale's "Social Animals" exhibit will open
on 27 November 2011 at Nineveh ArtSpace in Laguna.