- Elmer Borlongan
- Waiting Shed
- signed and dated 2008
- oil on canvas
- 214 by 152.5 cm; 84 1/4 by 60 in.
Best described as “Figurative Expressionism”, his paintings are characterized by stylized figuration and idiosyncratic features such as bald heads, large, uneven eyes and elongated limbs. His subjects are rendered in distorted forms and posed in front of minimal background in order to amplify the everyday struggles of urban life in Manila. Notably, characters under his portrayal always process expressions of disconcertment and despair, highlighting the emotional depth and downtrodden of society. Gifted with a sense of sensitivity and compassion, Borlongan is not only keen to evoke empathy through his paintings, but also to espouse the humor implicit in the ordinary lives of people, as well as feats of resilience and vivacity in the face of poverty and hardships.
The present work, Waiting Shed, is an excellent example of the artist’s trademark style and lifelong devotion to represent the existence of urban life in the Philippines. In his signature use of contorted visages and elongated bodies, a depiction of a young boy playfully riding on his father’s shoulders along with a cat waiting in a desolated shed offers a whimsical glimpse of the ordinary daily life. Borlongan’s desire to show basic existences of the people through hints of humor, strains of decay and enchantments of play has garnered his paintings a sense of authenticity.