There can be no way that people can be broken down into modest portrayals for Dexter Fernandez. Instead he provides a certain kind of abundance to them. It is true that they are straightforward and flat at first, having being shot with a camera's automatic setting, fixed at a certain equilibrium (a 0, a center, lacking excess and nothing short of a “without -”). In fact, it is at this platform that they are made backgrounds – these photographs – of themselves. These assemblage portraits, as gestures of familiarity, are of Dexter's friends and family – some directly and exactly associated while a number stand as incognito subjects filling in for the continents of Dexter's world/s.
As basic universal symbols as “-”, “+” and “” are, they contain a list of what they might signify. Primarily used in mathematical equations, these symbols are selected by Dexter to layers of personality and narratives attached to his portraits. As much as the “-” sign would connote a negative quality, it can also point to the process of “subtracting” a persona – this happening in events of contradiction or when they are disproved, criticized or judged badly. This “-” sign is applied by Dexter through symbols or texts that are obviously perverse or loaded with humorous vitriol. On the other hand, “+” can point to the brighter, hopeful elements in a portrait. Likewise, it relates to the constructive “additions” Dexter attaches to these people. An “” may encompass both former signs as a footnote – that beyond deductions and additions there is still relevant data on the side, giving the context of these symbols and people themselves and in turn creates the “bigger picture.”
Dexter shows signs as process to shaping our perspective on people. From the immediacy in the shots of these people, he proceeds to etch, stitch and fit together cut outs on the photographs in a likewise fashion as he breathes visual, symbolic life into the unseen layers of their persona. An example that these symbols represent an extraneous perspective that is self-conscious is that most tend to hover in the background and around, and not stringently embedded into characters.
Certainly people cannot be encapsulated into slight representations as Dexter proves in -+*. Therefore, what makes us his portraits verging on various media of picture-making can only show the complexity of the people in close proximity to his physical space and affections as well as the certain issues of faith, socio-politics, personal progress and individual transgression they, or Dexter himself, encounter.
Le Fool. A fellow non-believer, this chum of Dex likewise calls to mind the so-called folly of revering religious icons and other practices of a formidable faith institution. Using the icon of Doraemon, he states his opinion on icons as a form of idolatry who share no difference to the reverence attributed to Doraemon. DILLIGAF stands for “Do I look like I give a fuck.”
The Maiden. The characters translate as “She's wearing a nice dress.” This work questions our perception of beauty, and the dress that the figure wears are flab and the tattoos (which, in turn are collected symbols of physical attractiveness, self-assurance and innocence).
The Warrior. In his sitting stance, the character of this work is already establishing himself as one of might. Other indications of his warrior nature is of the helmet and the Shiva multiple arms. Despite this, demons and other dark figures lurk, making known the adversaries the warrior needs to get over. His tattoo indicates his unpretentiousness – animal being of no other agenda than fulfill instincts.
The High Priestess. Situated in a sanctum, the character is undressed in every state of being, thus allowing the release of neutral to hopeful elements. Symbols of purity and harmony mark her body as she settles in a comfort zone where she needs not to hide anything.
The Fall. Heavenly Hell accompanies “Harakiri”. A transgression and solipsistic decline, this image carries symbols of alcohol, of fashion and lurking dark figures. A work about wasted youth, it speaks about life fluctuation in the midst of over-gratification.
The Man- Child. Popular cartoons flock the headspace of this eight-year-old boy, yet a beard amasses on his chin. This work displays the contradiction of a child mentally growing in an accelerated mental state that sprung from his exposure to adult activities and innuendos found in paraphernalia he is exposed to.
The Fractional Hermit. “Deafening Hikikomori” is strewn across, the latter meaning “acute social withdrawal”. Dexter inserts the paisley to further add to the hippie image that inevitably points to psychedelia. Text and symbol amidst the dark background look at the phenomenon of isolation creating monsters. Passing through a period of solitude and alienation, he has not gotten past the proverbial “Valley of the Shadow of Death.”
The Gender-crossed Lovers. A take on sexuality, symbols meaning “freedom and liberty” are stamped on them. While their ill-fated affair (this work weighing on a “-”) is marked by the text that translates into “stupid, stupid, stupid...” which may end or flourish tragically in their incompatibility.
The Puer Aeternus. The nihongo characters translate to “Older brother” while “Kipper” is slang for an adult whose domestic life is still tied with the parental home. Dexter aims to depict perhaps a typical older sibling whose coming of age is still “stretched” through the proximity of his/her parents.
The Scapegoat. Providing new versions to acronyms, Dex provides the context of which institution is messing up with the people. Agents meant to ”serve and protect” pull a bukkake on the very people they are meant to aid, and their ways are cutting and sharp and degrades not just individuals but homes.
The Loner Anti-hero. “Basta” and “Crypto” refer to the secretive nature of Dexter's comrade. Likewise, he points to the isolated places his friends keep in them – shown through the marking on the torso and the hidden places along his lower body. Skulls lurking about describe the potential of this reclusion to unleash demons.
Medicine Women. With word play and street slang, Dexter aims to introduce altered consciousness. Along with “Just one hit” and “Extra Valium Meals”, the work is accompanied with symbols stating an avid awareness to bodily functions and other figures at the course of this type of consciousness.
The Tower. Of a power system gone wrong, this photo portrays a common policeman with the background that repetitively screams “Rape Civils”. Obviously a “-” perspective with other perverse elements attached to the persona with DDDDC standing for “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, this photo encapsulates the widespread impression towards these figures of aid.