Ronald Ventura (b. 1973, Philippines) is one of the most acclaimed Southeast Asian artists of his generation. He is renowned for his paintings and sculptures that feature complex multi-layering, combining images and varied styles from hyperrealism to cartoons and graffiti. Ventura takes the layering process in his work as a metaphor for the multifaceted identity of the Philippines. Over the centuries, the profound influences of various occupying powers – Spain, Japan, and the United States – along with the underlying indigenous culture, have produced a complex and at times uneasy sense of identity. Ventura explores this historical and psychic phenomenon through a dialogue of images evoking East and West, high and low, old and young – seen, for example, in allusions to Old Master paintings or Japanese and American cartoons. He draws our attention to the “second skin” of cultural signifiers that each person carries with him, however unwittingly. Ventura views skin as an expressive surface – written on with tattoos, concealed under layers of imagery, or exploding outwards to reveal an inner world of fantasy and conflict.
A major solo exhibition of his work, “Project: Finding Home”, took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei in 2016. He has also exhibited at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan, Ayala Museum, Philippines, and NUS Museum Singapore. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, and is included in many private collections. Ventura continues to live and work in Manila, Philippines.