signed and dated 1985 (upper left)
18" x 12" (46 cm x 30 cm)
The painting illustrates the intriguing look between caricature, with its distorting propensity, and a cubist-expressionist response to social realist art. Ang Kiukok’s painting career can be summed up as a dichotomy of a struggle for human expressiveness and constant perfection of cubistic pictorialism. The human condition at its most pathetic or angriest predicament has always inspired this artist. Suffering and torture were images familiar to him as he witnessed these in his boyhood during the Second World War. Ang’s first trip to the United States in 1965 also proved to be a profound experience for him. He saw at close quarters the materialism of a highly industrialized society that turns human beings into machines or robots—a society that dehumanizes.
Images of such cruelties continue to haunt him in the political and criminal violence reported daily by the mass media. The restricted color range of the work reflects the elegant austerity of Ang’s aesthetic sensibility. The painter’s colors not only strengthen the architectonic quality of his forms but also intensify his visual statements. It is this eruption of brutality from within civilized circumstances that enabled Ang Kiukok to extract from the scene such a convincing symbol of anguish.