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TOPAZ ARTS presents Manuel Ocampo: The 80s

Topaz Arts
5503 39th Avenue, Woodside, 718-505-0440
Queens Misc.
March 17 - May 12, 2012
Reception: Saturday, March 17, 2 - 4 PM
Web Site

TOPAZ ARTS is pleased to present recent paintings by Manuel Ocampo, internationally renowned artist from the Philippines, in the series “The 80s” – featuring backdated works that create a “productive tension through a re-visitation of the past”. The solo exhibition opens March 17 and will be on view through May 12, 2012. 
Viewing hours are Saturdays 12–4pm or by request – please email [email protected] to schedule an appointment. The TOPAZ ARTS Gallery is located at 55-03 39th Avenue in Woodside, Queens, NY. Easily accessible by subway: #7 to 61st St; R to Northern Blvd; 
or LIRR to Woodside Station; details & directions available at

“The 80s” is a series of recent paintings by Manuel Ocampo, Philippine’s most internationally active contemporary artist. Having emerged into prominence in the late 1980’s, this series is a time-based examination described by Ocampo as “almost antithetical to what was the order of the day – a jovial poetics of dissonance toying with the forms and function of a recycled vernacular inviting a celebratory critique of traditional notions of style”. Choosing to display the works in unconventional places – paintings set on the floor, on the edge of corners or intentionally positioned low on the wall, the small-scale oil paintings on canvas appear unassuming while together the series is perhaps Ocampo’s most abstract and conceptual work. Uncharacteristic of the paintings he is best known for – his subversive allegorical depiction of colonial and religious icons, and his more recent foray into large-scale graphic imagery – this series is a pared down abstraction of paintings, dated from 1988 to 1992 through 2011. What remains is the intellectual rigor and mysterious underpinning prevalent in his works, accompanied by often poetic and humorous titles. Stepping back in time, the work is seeped in painterly concerns, yet is a commentary on painting and art itself.

TOPAZ ARTS kicks off its international series with The 80’s — the first in a series of shows that highlight leading contemporary artists from the Philippines, continuing through 2013. In Fall 2012, TOPAZ ARTS will present Bastards of Misrepresentation II, curated by Manuel Ocampo, featuring artists from Manila. The group show is about the cultural scene happening in the Philippines yet is not a definitive show about Philippine art. Presented for the first time in the United States by TOPAZ ARTS in New York, the series will be a multi-venue exhibition headquartered at TOPAZ ARTS with participating organizations such as the Queens Museum of Art. Inspired by a research trip conducted by co-founding directors, Todd Richmond and Paz Tanjuaquio, and initiated by the idea of presenting the arts scene encountered in the Philippines, TOPAZ ARTS brings focus to a collective art movement, presenting cutting-edge art that has relevance to the local community while giving exposure to the bourgeoning and vibrant arts scene taking place in Manila, further engaging and re-examining the ties between the U.S. and the Philippines.

About the Artist: Manuel Ocampo (b. 1965, lives and works in Manila) is a celebrated Filipino artist whose work has been exhibited extensively over twenty years, with solo exhibitions at galleries and institutions throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. His first solo show in 1988 took place in Los Angeles, CA after which his work has been featured in many group shows in the 1990s, including Helter Skelter: LA Art of the 1990s at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 1992; Asia/America: Identities in Contemporary Asian American Art at the Asia Society in New York in 1994; American Stories: Amidst Displacement and Transformation at Setagaya Art Museum in Tokyo in 1997; Pop Surrealism at The Aldrich Museum of Art in 1998; and Made In California: Art, Image and Identity 1900-2000 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2000. In 2005, his work was the subject of a large-scale survey at Casa Asia in Barcelona and Lieu d’Art Contemporain in Sigean, France. Ocampo’s work has been included in a number of international surveys including the 2004 Seville Biennale, 2001 Venice Biennale, the 2001 Berlin Biennale, the 2000 Biennale d’art Contemporain de Lyon, the 1997 Kwangju Biennale, the 1993 Corcoran Biennale, and in 1992’s controversial Documenta IX. He has received a number of prestigious grants and awards including the Giverny Residency (1998), the Rome Prize at the American Academy (1995-96), the National Endowment for the Arts (1996), the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (1995) and Art Matters Inc. (1991). Recently in 2011, Ocampo was a featured artist in the Dublin Contemporary 2011 and had solo shows in New York City, USA; Melbourne, Australia; Vigo, Spain; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Graz, Austria. Manuel Ocampo is represented in New York by Tyler Rollins Fine Art.
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