An elderly couple stands in front of the Church of Antipolo, Philippines, their faces squinting in the heat of a noon daylight. They seem to have been caught-off guard on their exit from mass or a religious function: both are wearing formal clothing. And both seem exhausted from some travail. Painted through the distortive effect of a fish-eye lens, the couple’s bodies loom and bend, sending their faces in a warped effect. The dour, vinegary expression of both crone and old man assumes an iconic, almost institutional presence akin to Horace Grant’s American Gothic. The work’s title refers to a vernacular pledge of long-lasting love that persists to old age, of which this portrait of the old couple is a testament to such enduring affection. It seems comic however to perceive, that despite the title of the painting, the depiction of demeanour of both subjects seem to convey not a fulfilled promise but an exhausted partnership that has gone ceremonial. As proximity does not mean closeness, being paired does not signify relation. In the end Samson’s portrait leaves us with a sense of fatality: love may not grow further than age will allow. Thus we have two old people suffering the tedium and heat of the glaring sun.
Oil on Canvas
122 x 91.5 cm (48 x 36”)
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