Mariano Del Rosario



My art is an amalgam of Eastern philosophy and modern physics. I see reality as an entropic world of radically changing chain of events, a byproduct of human action, invention and natural phenomena. Mirroring the laws of the mechanical universe in relation to that of humanity is as real as it is metaphysical: profound, fluid and in constant flux. The only thing constant is change. In context, I allow my work to evolve or devolve till it generates surprising results. In general, however, my methodology is definite and specific. 

As a Filipino-American artist whose heritage is saddled with centuries of colonial history, my hyphenated identity is a complex compound of challenges. It is analogous to hydroponics in agriculture where plants like migrants exist in suspended life support system, neither here nor there, but adaptable in sustained environments. Implicit in my mixed media works are issues of marginalization, the Asian Diaspora, power relationships and the question of representation in a dominant culture.

I draw energy from inert matter and get clued in by ubiquitous materials that challenge conventional practice and perception of elegance. Found materials are codes, documents and relics of a culture. They are conduits and signifiers of the state of affairs of society in either blissful harmony, renewable decay or utter dystopia. My thought process is particularly informed by Process Art, Arte Povera and Conceptual Art movements, which entails stripping down materials to their barest essentials. While the idea takes precedence over the object in conceptualism, the object is still necessary to get to the idea. The three references intersect seamlessly.

Eliding stylistic categories and migrating from one element to another allows me extra mobility, individuality and chameleon-like adaptive capability. They are metaphorical scaffoldings of my own American experience and personal vision of the dream. Varied, intertwined and possessing the same DNA as the others, the art installations and assemblages are emblems of human condition in the balance: ephemeral, unsettled and nomadic to the core.

Cement paintings came about when I was still in art school as a response to questions on aesthetics and institutional painting. Pouring and troweling concrete over tar or over a wet bed of glue on canvas was one solution. Like the Brutalist building material, concrete is massive, heavy and simply brutal. By applying it thinly on canvas the painterly way and lifting it off the mold the material subverts itself and its constructional use. After surface preparation and transformation, one forgets for a moment its origin, banality and complexity. It’s alchemy. Other pieces are inspired by recent advances in quantum mechanics such as warped geometry, the uncertainty principle, theory of everything and other mundane or topical concerns. The object is to realize the power and beauty of a simple image. I am interested in dissolving the lines between the familiar and the unfamiliar, fantasy and reality, fact and fiction.

To quote Maurice Merleau-Ponty in "The Phenomenology of Perception”, the French philosopher wrote in his challenge to Cartesian philosophy that we observe the object first and then think about it. This prompts me as if by law of gravity to look at the concrete pavement below my feet to see what I can see.


MARIANO DEL ROSARIO (b. the Philippines) is a Filipino-American painter and installation artist who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He holds a MFA degree in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art and a BFA degree in painting from the University of the Philippines. He was recipient of grants from Asian Cultural Council/Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Pollock-Krasner Foundation; Core Fellow, Glassell School of Art,/Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX; and, Thirteen Artists Award, the Cultural Center of the Philippines; Aljira/Emerge, Newark, NJ; and, BricArts/Rotunda Residency, Brooklyn, NY.

Past solo exhibitions include: OK Harris Gallery, NYC; Roger Smith Arts, NYC; David Klein Gallery, Birmingham, MI; Galeria Galou, Brooklyn, NY; Soho Center for Visual Artists, NYC; Andrea Gallery, Washington, DC; Hunter College Gallery, NYC; and, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila, PH. Selected group exhibitions include: Eugenio de Almeida Foundation, Evora, PT; KW Contemporary Institute of the Arts, Berlin, DE; Art Students League of NY; Zentral Bibliothek, Zurich, Switzerland; Biblioteca Nacional, Buenos Aires, Argentina; SICA, Long Branch, NJ; Goliath Visual Space, Brooklyn, NY; Affordable Art Fair, NYC; Queens Museum of Art; Baltimore Museum of Art; Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; A/P/A Gallery, New York University, NYC; Tokyo Art Expo, Tokyo, JP; Bronx Museum of the Arts; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; Glassell School of Art, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, TX; School 33 Art Center, Baltimore, MD; Museum of Philippine Art, Manila, PH; National Museum of Thailand, Bangkok; Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, JP; and, Hong Kong Art Centre, Hong Kong.