Mark Batongmalaque (1978 Torrance, CA) lives and works in Riverside, CA. He received his MFA with a concentration in Painting & Drawing from UCSB in 2007. Growing up as a first generation Filipino-American in the 80s & 90s, the idea of how universal & expected integration was in his everyday life, along with negotiating his ethnocultural traditions, and developing a masculine identity in the golden age of action movies; Batongmalaque has always been aware of his otherness. But that otherness was part of the grand tradition of the melting pot, not at the expense of feeling isolated, other & different because that added something to the mix of the promise he was told. Although he did get too emotional to finish Moana, because he realized that he’d never seen characters that looked like him & his family before, and that’s a cartoon, so… But that holding back the tears, that desire to grin & bear it, the macho posturing is ingrained in Batongmalaque. There is a word in Tagalog “Tigas” that is like Westerns, Beer Commercials, and Weapons all rolled into one meaning. Mark Batongmalaque is tigas, and in a time when toxic masculinity is being addressed, Batongmalaque is trying to examine how he can define what all of these things actually result in.
Mark Batongmalaque was born, raised, & makes work in Southern California. His work explores the ideas of loneliness coexisting with loving, & figuring out how desire relates to history, & more importantly, why it all feels so empty.
Batongmalaque's recent work that has been focused on death & beauty, both individually & simultaneously. There is a desire to look & watch as it happens around you, address it before it passes. The fleeting moments are the same, gone, with only memories left to reminisce over, remind us, fail us. Batongmalaque’s paintings are a collection of familiar feeling images as they come or go into focus. Purposefully unresolved to occupy a transient state. Both lost & found at the same time.
The images Batongmalaque works with come from all different sources. There’s no specific image he looks for, although he often wants to blur the specifics of time. He has a desire for anachronous imagery, helping reinforce the idea of familiarity and distance. In terms of actual painting, Batongmalaque is interested in creating information that revels in the device. The image is an opportunity to find a way to paint. There is a sparseness & immediacy to the way paint is applied, frugalness & economy for the sake of revealing how delicate the surface is.
Mark Batongmalaque has been shown throughout the country, notably in group shows with his art crew Boys Of $ummer, & in Second Wave at the UCR ARTS, We at Azusa Pacific University, & recently the show You, Me, They: Portraying Us at Mount St. Mary’s University. His work is part of the collections of: Public Art Sculpture for San Bernardino, Ridley Tree in Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Maloof Foundation, UCR ARTS, & the APU Darling Library.
Batongmalaque means 'big rock'