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. Their thin white hair as bright as day.
Oil on Canvas
122 x 91.5 cm (48 x 36”)