England Hidalgo presents to us a brand of realism that navigates through grit, manifesting the wider society by interrupting our complacency with it. A background in punk would describe the hyperbolic visual language that he mustered by reiterating images from the general media alongside iconic juxtapositions that, by principle, should elicit empathy; rather they create revulsion onto themselves in Hidalgo’s terms. An editorial would present certain statements, and usually that of vitriol towards a state of the bigger society. The use of text and overall satirical representation of images would easily let Hidalgo’s drawings fall into such category. It is true that he makes use of such devices similar to the editorial. Hidalgo transcends this modality, however, in the reflexivity to practices in the media in getting messages across. The artist, while using specific visual strategies, has a go at this deluge of images that bombard us through the life that we call “adult”.
The exhibition title “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” takes from the same title of a Tom Waits song, listing the expectations of adult life and expressing an occurring apprehension towards it. Hidalgo’s new drawings disclose the frequency of news afflicting adulthood through parody of representations from current media. In terms of this part of what it means to be grown-up, he also surveys the old hat through images of the homestead (but without the picket fence), the (jilted) suit and dissociated texts as insubstantial but as persistent as spouses’ nags. On the other side of this set of images we make out gestures of the attempt to “not grow up” as Tom Waits would scour – gig posters and objects of pastimes, as well as interpretations in abstractions. However, it is not about a side we can choose to take. The predicament presents itself that reality is pulled between these two forces of what it means to be an adult and what we assume to be unadult-like. This pronouncement, like the gestures of abstractions Hidalgo makes in one series for “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up,” is a farce. While the lack of representation is equivalent to the effervescence of juvenilia and its heydays, the impressions border on delusional while placed in contrast to the stark cues from the “real world.”
Like his deliberate use of visual strategies in news to critique back to media, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” also presents the same irony. It sallies not on the realities associated with maturity, but on the senselessness of sticking oneself on the rut of his salad days.