BY MADS BAJARIAS | Andres Barrioquinto's "Men-pleaser" grabs the viewer by the throat with a carnivore's ferocity. Set against a background that vaguely recalls de Chirico, is this animal of bared fangs, jagged surfaces and fearsome eyes. I am unfamiliar with the phrase "men-pleaser" so I asked Barrioquinto who kindly replied saying that it was taken from the Bible.
After a quick search, I found Galatians 1:10.
From what I understand, this verse is part of a letter that Saint Paul of Tarsus addressed to the early Christian communities in the Roman province of Galatia. Saint Paul was, along with Saint Peter and James the Just, one of the first Christian missionaries who risked the wrath of the Roman Empire which still held sway over large parts of the western world. Early Christian missionaries had no time to muck around; spreading God's word was serious business and one had to take a hard-line approach. For Christianity to thrive, it needed the fire and steel of men like Saint Paul who required absolute devotion of themselves and of other Christians.
The Weymouth New Testament translation reads:
Galatians 1:10: For is it man's favour or God's that I aspire to? Or am I seeking to please men? If I were still a man-pleaser, I should not be Christ's bondservant.In the International Standard Version (2008), Galatians 1:10 reads:
Galatians 1:10: Am I now trying to win the approval of people or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be the Messiah's servant.If I understand Saint Paul's take-no-prisoners stance in Galatians 1:10 in relation to "Men-pleaser," the artist is pointing out that a life spent seeking the approval of others is not much different from that of a dog's. It is through devotion to God that man transcends the level of beasts.
Andres Barrioquinto answers a few questions about "Men-pleaser."
Medium. Dimensions. Date finished.
AB: It's oil on canvas, and 18 by 24 feet. I finished it January 2008.
It seems to be influenced by cubism?
AB: The cubist appearance was not an early intention. It's accidental; it's just what I felt at the time, and basically, it is what came out. It was not planned.
AB: "Men-Pleaser" was influenced by a biblical verse. Men-pleasers are mentioned in the Bible. I see the dog as a symbol because it's a submissive animal that gives pleasure to man and obeys all his orders.
Where can people go to see your works?
AB: I have one coming up at Whitebox, a one-man show at blanc, and art 40 courtesy of (collector) Julius Babao. Check my Multiply site for more details.
Thank you Andres. Much appreciated.