Delphine de Lorme presents two sides of a spectrum in the contemporary society as she interrogates the contrasting elements of existence — its pains and joys, hatred and desire; the dominant and the subordinate, the masculine and the feminine. “Pacman and the Girls” reveals such emotions and sensations through the mixed media medium on canvas, employing soft and delicate brushstrokes to fulfill the demands of a realist figuration. Contrasting this technique is a deliberate rendition of a jagged, rough and seemingly raw rendition of texts and images on the background.
The first series of de Lorme’s paintings shows some highlights of Manny Pacquiao’s career, particularly his traits that are somewhat overlooked by some of today’s successful men/women. The second cluster presents eight paintings on various femme fatale in formulaic poses, employing seductive subjects yet indulges the audience to critique the content as the works subtly pose questions about the discourse on feminine/femininity as the subject/object of the “male gaze”.
In “Pacman” series, six large-scale works emphasize the spectacle inside the arena with Pacquiao as the protagonist; the excitement, adrenaline and rush of the entire scene are captured in the movements and contortions of the figures, facial expressions and the incorporation of glaring texts and signs of ads in the backdrop.
Such sensations can be taken in by the viewers initially but gazing through them lengthily, the positive traits of Manny Pacquiao are highlighted. In “MGM Las Vegas”, it shows his fight with Oscar De La Hoya in which he humbly stated that although he had won the fight, Oscar was still his idol. The same can also be said for the works “Patay Hatton” and “Cotto vs. Pacman”. In both bouts, Manny never said anything to degrade his opponents despite being put down by Hatton’s then trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Cotto’s bold prediction that he would go home carrying Manny’s title belt. His match with Joshua Clottey, shown in “Eye of the Tiger” depicts another admirable trait. As his popularity intensified, distractions and controversies that surrounded him increasingly mounted up. Despite this, his ability to focus for the fight was one of his top priorities. Those close to him are quick to confirm that he hasn’t lost that ability. In addition, the spiritual side of Manny is also shown in the work “Manny and God”. It shows how one acknowledges the Divine in times of triumph, tremendous wealth and prestige. A gesture that is lost in many of his peers in the field.
The second cluster of de Lorme’s works presents different facets of the distorted view of women in today’s society. In “Rachel Welch”, the woman as sex symbol as imagined and portrayed by the media is clearly shown. The sensual figure of the actress in the foreground invites the viewers to prolong the gaze that would inevitably allow them to read through the painted text which states that — “nothing else has stirred the hearts and libidos of modern men.”
This notion continues and is mixed with stereotypes in “Ta douleur”, where the lyrics to a song about a woman aggressively offering to take ones pain away through sex is interspersed with the image of two scantily clad women armed with handguns. Tinges of sex and violence are mixed with drugs and crime — quite a typical Hollywood formula in filmmaking – in “Born to be Bad”, a painting that employs an archetypal image of an African-American female character in the 70’s films.
The violent gestures are more prominent in the two works “Bang Bang Shoot Me Down” and “Guerilla Aux Philippines” wherein the images are not only carrying guns but also gesturing the willingness to use them. It is also hard to ignore the sexual undertone of the phrase “bang bang shoot me down”, where the facial expression of allure is shown evoking a sense of desire from the audience, a strategy used by media and advertising to sell products and shows.
In “Agent Special”, “Saperman”. and “Le monde Tremble” de Lorme stresses even more the culture of materialism and sensationalism of a youthful physique in contemporary society — as these images are suffused with superficiality, deceit, aggression and crime.
Delphine de Lorme fascinates the viewers with her imagined paradoxes of life and provokes the audience to engage their everyday realities and decisions in a playful mix of wit, candor and graphic manner.
-Maria Sharon Arriola