In the Paintings of Ronson Culibrina, Viral Is an Atmosphere

  • by The Cartellino Team

Accounts of the coronavirus have been nothing short of accessible. Wherever you are, whether sheltered-in-place or on the ground, if there’s stable Internet, you know what shares today’s headlines alongside political strife. You know what your friends have been up to. You know the number of people who have died.

This pandemic is heavy. For artist Ronson Culibrina, the way we’ve been left to guess how heavy plays no small part. When the precaution is to assume that anyone or anything can transmit the virus, is “viral,” no amount of distancing helps someone feel less close to it. Only a virus can have these walls cave in; only cyberspace can have these walls collapse. It’s the confluence of these two effects from the adjective (“viral”) that makes for a bizarre atmosphere, which Culibrina visualizes acutely in deep reds, pungent greens, and more in his solo exhibition at Blanc.

CHECKPOINT. 25 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches. Oil on Figueras. 2020.
CHECKPOINT 2. 25 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches. Oil on Figueras. 2020.

Semblant of thermal images through colors that drip and spill out from one shape to another, central to the encounters Culibrina depicts is something transmitted. Atop and amid twilit surroundings, erected are palm leaves, sheds, and sidewalks playing second fiddle to the all-too-familiar acts that center his iridescent compositions: the temperature checks, relief goods distributions, and social distancing between near-faceless people. It’s on the routines in place now that gel uncertain space and time and structure an event, but to paint them, give them focus, introduce a kind of latency to look at these givens another way—that gives rise to something else entirely.

Ronson Culibrina’s Painting Viral continues until July 22, 2020. Catch it at Blanc Gallery.

SHOT. 25 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches. Oil on Figueras. 2020.
RELIEF. 25 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches. Oil on Figueras. 2020.

Anchor photo: Exhibition view of “HOAX” and “FRONTLINER” (L-R).

All images courtesy Blanc Gallery.