Power Corrupts, Then We End Up in the Slaughterhouse

BY MADS BAJARIAS | In Don Djerassi Dalmacio's painting "Resurfaced," we get the oft-repeated image of the powerful and remote icon. A patrician. A man of consequence. The mogul. Solidly-built and granite-like. But the benevolent aura of power that figured in all official portraits of strongmen in the past is now gone. One of the most painful lessons of the 20th century is how men of power could just be as tormented and doubt-filled as the rest of us. There is no knowing for sure who they are and where their intentions lie. What is clear here is the sense of disillusionment. Dalmacio's isn't an original idea, but it bears a message that needs repeating on the transitory and uncertain nature of power.

Despite the banal title, "Ride to Paradise" (there is something cartoonish and hokey about the word "paradise" which doesn't suit the overall elusiveness presented in the work), this painting shares the same concerns as "Resurfaced": The always shifting forces at work that stymie our puny efforts at understanding the world. We are cut off. We might as well get cozy to the idea that we are all impenetrable.

There is nothing uncertain about "After the Inspection," Dalmacio's version of a gutted farm animal--another familiar 20th century trope. Francis Bacon have mined this vein to disturbing effect and the socialist workers' propaganda films have perfected the We Are All Cattle vision of the worker under capitalism. I find the word "FRESH" on the bottom of the painting is tad unnecessary.

Don Djerassi Dalmacio held his first show at blanc art space last January.

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