This Delightful Emergency

The Paintings of Douglas Padilla

With an ultra thick and vibrant pallet, Mr. Padilla has thrown a two fisted concoction of color, energy and mystery right into his larger than life paintings. With machine gun intensity, he has attacked wood, canvas, doors, and windows in a mixed media mayhem that creates an undeniable atmosphere straddling a thin canyon between elation and despair. Are these figures sub-human or super human? Are they fettered by the high drama of the world or liberated by it? Do we invade the world or does the world invade us? Yet this body of work is not about simple conclusions or far flung intellectual ruminations – I believe it all speaks to the reality of being thrust into the dizzy swarm of life itself, about currents and cross currents, about dreams that break, mutate and somehow survive. What is so compelling about this artwork is it’s almost deranged honesty. There is a real purity to the intense forces that navigate through a convoluted cavalcade of colors. Lust, death, fear, joy, ali

enation, anger and remorse all make an appearance in this unrelenting visual drama. Urgency and vibrancy of the highest degree radiate out from these paintings. The layers and layers of acrylic paint transform Padilla’s pictures into cosmic mosaics that one wants to touch, feel, and devour. The ever present dazed figure, frozen within its own desperate whirlwind, is either compressing or exploding – attempting to decide it’s exact fate becomes part of the experience Derangement could be pure sanity, and “sanity” a mere bittersweet fluke. What appears to be crude and primitive is actually an elaborate and sophisticated ruse that opens up a million rhetorical questions that cannot be answered in a lifetime. Mr. Padilla’s gamble pays off in dividends, for as each work collides with itself in a bizarre and unruly montage, a voice underneath all the noise quietly whispers – “I’m still alive”.

 

Paul D. Dickinson, freelance critic/Speedboat Gallery