By Edrick Daniel
There is something melancholic and mysterious in the subdued works of Edrick Daniel which make them gripping. Here, you find stories paused midway between an implied struggle and a new start: a broken wooden doll revealing an empty chair inside, a heart-shaped hot air balloon floating off in the distance goes unnoticed by the dolls averted gaze. In the next, a Trojan horse irreversibly damaged, surrounded by mushrooms sprouting alongside the field of arrows around it, a fiery heart in the foreground, while a child, seemingly innocently roleplaying as a soldier about to retrieve a sword from the ground. Behind them, a windmill stoically stands witness to a foregone battle and by its presence recalls another literary figure, Don Quixote, vaguely hinting at a measure of futility to any planned action. In another, a sad face seems to form on a snail’s shell, fathoming times’ slow passing of life lived at a snail’s pace, the face of a man aware of his trapped fate. Another work shows a beast is tethered to a child. A battle is played out in front of an amusement park. All with figures watching the unfolding process: here a half-buried face, there a windmill, or in the rest, the face of the subject itself, aware of its weary existence. In the suit of seven works which comprise his fourth solo exhibition In Between, a noticeable loneliness is cast as each work bears a solitary figure caught in between decay and renewal. An exercise of contrasts depict the transition from one state to the next. The painful process of growth made evident between passage from innocence to knowledge. This passage echoes the biblical story where a serpent tempts Adam and Eve with the primordial fruit of knowledge; their awakening results to their expulsion from paradise, to live life in the world, and suffer. It is the story of every man and it what makes us human. To lose our innocence to give way to knowing. To live despite the suffering. To make meaning out of onerous existence. To matter despite what life throws at us.
Daniel states that the exhibit is autobiographical: a recollection of experiences from his life veiled in the highly developed visual language which characterizes his body of work. “I came up with the idea for the show as an autobiographical discussion of sorts: of situations, choices and people in my life that provided certain stories for this particular show.
I ask myself “why do I contradict myself often? Why do I have certain desires and behaviors that simply aren’t easily acceptable by most people? I looked at the Idea of the Seven Deadly Sins, and worked around that particularly on the irony of these being called “deadly” yet, in some sense, they are an evolutionary requirement for survival. It’s a story of one’s will versus one’s nature: how man strives to define himself as “man” only to be at the mercy of his natural desires… caught in between.”
by Ricky Francisco