EJ Cabangon, known for hyperrealistic paintings of juvenalia, returns to familiar territory in Roundup and spotlights the equine characters of My Little Pony with a cameo from Pixar’s Sheriff Woody Pride of Toy Story fame. The familiar forms are part of Cabangon’s Abducted series, which showcases his remarkable mastery of oil paint and his sleight of hand. Plastic toys look as though they were dipped in a white chocolate fondue. Delicious and palpable, viscous drops of milky white—mucoid, syrupy goodness—slop over the resin collectibles. They cling and dangle precariously without falling, making every canvas in Roundup thrum with tension. It’s like watching the pitch drop experiment, except the laws of physics don’t apply to Cabangon’s works, no matter how real they look.
In the past, Cabangon has rendered, with loving detail, tufts of fur on a teddy bear, the thread-like lashes and glassy eyes of a Kewpie doll, and—outside of the realm of playthings—crumpled pieces of paper and transparent condoms. Simulated texture and fooling the eye plays a big part in Cabangon’s practice. The painterliness of Roundup suspends gravity, stops time in every dollop of pigment that threatens to snap off but doesn’t.