Phillip John Velasco Gabriel
A kind of warrior class often found in video games, a “Vigilator” symbolizes the future, for better or for worse. In “Vigilator,” his second solo show with Ramiken, Phillip John Velasco Gabriel seems to tack toward the better: his seven paintings describe a “future we’ve already fallen in love with,” he writes in the accompanying press release. Gabriel’s canvases depict flashes of futurity across largely spare compositions, as if tailored for a generation with a split-second attention.
In Untitled (Green) (2021) [pictured], a robotic hand pinches the wing of a moth against a forest-green background as twin pillars of lightning flash in the bottom corners, like a Frankenstein awakening. Elsewhere, the referents are obscured but no less evocative: in Untitled (Red) (2021) an upturned eye, a strip of sea; in Untitled (Blue) (2021) a bar of abstract color like a corrupted JPEG, a kind of twenty-first century Rothko. But Gabriel puts the “vigil” in “vigilator,” too, for a lost past which looks a lot like the present. In Untitled (Green/Yellow) (2021), beside blocks of washed-out colors, a pair of lovers kiss tenderly, the underside of flesh a rosy pink, like a faded memory.
Phillip John Velasco Gabriel, Untitled (Green)(2021). Oil and acrylic on panel in artist's frame, 42 x 60 x 1 1/4 inches.