“Power Flavor” features Olan Ventura’s recent works at West Gallery. The show discusses the metaphysics of nostalgia, as to how memory and certain stimuli connect into our senses and almost build a fantasy world of beauty. It is a world where we are transported back in time with such colorful images embracing us through image and sound. The artist uses captivating images to recreate this feeling: a light box, broken ice cream sculptures, and four multicolored, image-blasted ice cream carts. The four carts stand out in terms of imagery, as it is obsessively loaded with faces and forms of different pop culture icons transcending time and even space. The Images range from Dictators (Ferdinand Marcos), Fictional Dictators (Darth Vader), Super Heroes (Iron Man, Superman), Painters (Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali), Cartoon Characters (Dora, Bart Simpson, Betty Boop), and everything else that anybody could have encountered in the past. This monstrous assemblage of images invade the mind with a multitude of feelings; it gives us an almost exact replay of emotions that we shared with these representations: The frustration of finishing a Plants Vs. Zombies game and crushing Dr. Zomboss, the joy that we shared with the world as Neil Armstrong first laid footsteps over the moon’s surface, and that time we all contorted our faces when Miley Cyrus well, did what she did.
Like the overlapping descriptions in this article, the images do not seem to follow a specific timeline or whatsoever. They are all just hurled into flat metal as if they are all happening at the same time. Perhaps this is a picturesque overload, a bloody, colorful eruption from history that splotches the faces into the manner in which we want to remember or fail to remember them. Accompanying this state of excess is a deluge of music, a randomized playlist that further gives a soul to these pictures. Felix the Cat’s opening theme play over the background, then Fox’s X-Men, then Superman’s popular classic theme (that almost certainly sound like a national anthem), and at some point even a speech by the late president Ferdinand Marcos declaring martial law on national airwaves. Olan shares that these sounds take us deeper into the past and like a hypnotic mantra, has possibly influenced our every move and certain decision over things.
These images are like flavors, Olan Ventura explains. Each of them has left his or her mark upon our consciousness, inspiring us to become what we truly are: limited to the confines of the flesh, but transcendent in terms of the spirit. Angels in theory, but human, all-too human in praxis. And the flavorful stories of history and pop culture stand as saccharine proof.
In the end, like the image of that baby from Nevermind, we are all just naked children swimming in the cold river of memory; children bound to immediate hedonistic pleasures of life such as sex, money, and ice cream.