Slow Burn: Oneal Parbo

Press release

Cuturi Gallery is proud to present Slow Burn - a solo exhibition by Oneal Parbo (b.1994, Philippines). Humanoid figures against the backdrop of dense foliage inhabit Parbo’s selection of new paintings. Influenced by organic forms of surrealism, Parbo captures decaying landscapes that are reminiscent of post-apocalyptic or dystopian fantasy movie stills.    


Initially part of c/discoveries, Parbo is now under the gallery’s residency programme where he paints from the studio located on level two. In this series of new works, Parbo has ventured out of his distinctive style of amorphous forms and has taken a slight narrative approach by bringing us into imagined nocturnal worlds.


Landscapes riddled with abandoned objects and unusual figures, Slow Burn is an exhibition that offers an alternate dimension of reality. Painting figures that appear to be an assemblage of different dissected limbs and body parts, Parbo imagines a world inhabited by a hybrid of human-bodied mythical creatures. Starting by sketching on his canvas, the artist proceeds to apply a thick layer of oil paint and linseed oil that helps give off the gleam we see in his paintings. Allowing space for his paintings to breathe, Parbo paints in intervals and comes back to add new elements to his pieces. Working with intimate and disproportionate scales, Parbo showcases his attention to detail through minute and precise brushstrokes. 


Although inherently dark and unsettling, the artist insists that there aren’t deep underlying motifs behind his works. Parbo confesses his love for post-rock music and operates purely based on his imagination. The artist has referenced listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor - a Canadian post-rock band -  while painting. Often seen with a headset on, music is an instrumental part of his creative process. This aspect of his life also often seeps into his dreams and acts as further inspiration for his works. Through music-induced dreams and an appetite for peculiarity, Parbo paints in a non-conceptual approach that allows viewers to unravel the works themselves. 


Each painting acts as an entity of its own as the objects used burst forth in the foreground of his paintings. Through the use of disproportioned and otherworldly creatures, there are elements of beauty in his works despite their grotesqueness. 


Slow Burn will be on view at Cuturi Gallery from 5 February to 13 February 2022. 


Oneal Parbo graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 2018, he has since taken part in several shows including a solo presentation "Voyages" at Cuturi Gallery in February 2021, a group exhibition "New Beginnings", the first show after Cuturi's relocation to its home in the Kampong Gelam district, “Orthodox” during Singapore Art Week and “Raw Forms” at Coda Culture and “In the Flesh” at SPRMRKT. 


Text by Allysa De Silva.


Exhibition Catalogue