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UPROOT

May 10, 2020 | Archives | No Comments

A three-person exhibition featuring the works of Pin Calacal, Annie Concepcion, and Noelle Varela

While the term “uproot” typically connotes the rough displacement of something tangible, in the exhibition “Uproot” artists Pin Calacal, Annie Concepcion, and Noelle Varela paint this process as it occurs within the human experience. The pieces explore how “uprooting” takes form in our everyday lives, as a series of occurrences that are non-singular and ultimately decided by factors that are uniquely personal.

Pin Calacal takes a more direct approach to this process. The subjects in her works are anthropomorphic by design, largely inspired by the ents and entwives, a race of creatures that resemble trees in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. These figures are the central axis on which Calacal explores the show’s main theme. They are in the process of motion, whether voluntary or involuntary, and placed within various surroundings in an effort to portray the experience as unpredictable and able to occur at any given moment. More so, the feeling of being displaced while situated within a familiar space is also depicted, turning the discussion inwards as the audience is led to ask the role that personal choice may play in these situations. And much like the ents and entwives, the subjects have feet, driving home the point that while one may feel severely rooted in place, we each still possess the ability to move.

Annie Concepcion depicts “uprooting” more within the realm of movement than displacement, where to uproot is to step away from what is comfortable and familiar, and move towards something completely novel. Her works feature human body parts as if arising from a sea of birds and flowers, colored in strong reds and blues as they frame each subject carefully, bringing to the forefront the centrality of the human person in the experience of being uprooted. Moreover, this “movement” is likened to a “transition” – a shift from an old reality to a new one which, while at first glance may seem uncertain and rather terrifying, transforms into something that is ultimately liberating.

For Noelle Varela, the act of “uprooting” is the almost instinctual reflex to remove anything and everything that disturbs the harmony between the self and its environment. Her works take on a more literal form, as flowers and small plants are depicted sprouting from in between crevices of walls and floors, fighting to grow and take root amidst the cracks on these hard surfaces. These breakouts are likened to disturbances that occur within the self as it clashes with society and its environment. And instead of seeking out the reason behind these disturbances, much like the flowers that find life in between the fissures of sidewalks and concrete walls, we pluck them out, creating an endless cycle where we continuously uproot and remove the things that ruin our coexistence with our surroundings.

In this exhibition, the process of “uprooting” does not happen in a vacuum. Neither is it confined to a singular experience. Uprooting can turn inward towards oneself, or outward as a response to one’s surroundings. It can be liberating, freeing. In a world strife with turmoil, we take solace in this act of uprooting as a means through which we find refuge. It may disturb, but it may also question, and in effect, answer. In the end, it becomes a personal experience that delves deep into the human psyche, creating ripples that continue to dance and move within and around our lives.

Words by Elle Lucena

PARAISONG PARISUKAT

May 10, 2020 | Archives | No Comments

A solo exhibition by Mideo M. Cruz

Binubuo natin ang ating mga pangarap sa pirapirasong paglalahad ng ating mga hangad, sa pagsasalarawan ng imahinasyong ito ay mga mumunting paraiso ng pantasya na nagsasalansan at namimistulang hagdan para sa mas malalaking pangarap. Sa bawat pantasya may nabubuo nga bang paglaya? O ang maliliit na paraiso ay patuloy lamang nagsasalansan ng mga di natin nakikitang pader na bumubuo ng ating mga kulungan?

Una kong hinango ang ideya ng “obelisk” bilang saksi ng kasaysayan, paano nga ba sinusulat ng isang dukha ang kanyang saloobin. Ang plakard ba ay kayang magsalaysay ng kasaysayan?

Pumasok sa aking imahinasyon ang mga estetika mula sa kilusang suffragettes ng New York, ang monolith ni Kubrick, ang batas ni Hammurabi sa panahon ng Mesopotamia, ang tansong tabletang natagpuan sa Laguna.

Nauwi ako sa titulo ni Nadres at inalala ang kaligayahan ni Isya sa munting medalyang parangal sa pantasya ng limitado niyang paraiso.

Hindi iisa ang ating karanasan, ngunit pwedeng punan ang bawat parisukat ng sarili nating aspirasyon, o pantasya. Hawak natin ang kasaysayan, sa pagpapatuloy nito, tayo pa rin ang gumagawa ng ating bukas. Kailangang nating maging mapanuri dahil baka ang binubuo natin ay mga mumunting pantasya at walang katapusang hagdan sa hinahangad nating paraiso.

Words by Mideo M. Cruz

CORPOREAL PARADISE

April 12, 2020 | Archives | No Comments

A solo exhibition by Raphael David

Flowers are one of the most beautiful creations that makes human life meaningful and happier in so many ways. Their role on our lives is as old as civilization itself, and we can trace them through our religious texts, folk tales, and ancient myths.

Flowers, with all their infinite variety and beauty, carry meanings outside of the rational and material experience. We see them as vessels used to convey the deepest emotions and messages throughout our lifetime. Their presence is a reflection that although we can live life fully, we are nevertheless fragile all the same.

Raphael David’s sculptures with growing flowers on its body conveys our deepest emotions on experiencing change and celebrating life stages. It depicts how humans and flowers stimulate each other and react with one another to learn and grow harmoniously.

Corporeal Paradise” is an exploration of the stages of the human life cycle and its spiritual journey to mysticism. The connections between flowers and the spiritual realm is a potent one. Flowers assist us in discovering and rediscovering the divine beyond words.

WOMBVOX

March 22, 2020 | Archives | No Comments

A group exhibition featuring the works of Filipina artists Diwa Abueva, Babylyn Geroche Fajilagutan, Nina Garibay, Paola Germar, Shalimar Gonzaga, Arco Iris, Genavee Lazaro, Pam Quinto, Maia San Diego, Marilou Solano, Tekla Tamoria, and Janelle Tang

The Woman as Artist

For much of history, the artist was a man. From ancient antiquity to the high renaissance, man was always at the forefront of artistic development, whether it be in developing novel techniques and art-making processes, or beautifying the surfaces of important historical landmarks. Even the concept of the artist as a genius – an all-knowing, well-rounded individual marked by the likes of Da Vinci and his contemporaries – was personified and imagined as a man. The question of woman’s role in art history persists through the ages, and it is only in recent times that we can finally assess why and how these conditions came to be so.

To the question of why there are no great women artists, Linda Nochlin responds that the conditions for art-making did not allow for women to become artists in the first place. There are, indeed, some women artists who have managed to make a name for themselves, but they are very few compared to the countless male artists whose works continue to grace large museums and private collections. However, things today are much different. As more and more women pursue artistic careers, we are given the opportunity to study the ways in which their persistence in art-making continues to shape and form the contemporary art scene as we know it today.

An annual celebration by Kaida Contemporary, “Wombvox” brings together a selected roster of talented Filipina artists to showcase their recent works. Varying in technique and style, the exhibition is a study on the contemporary art scene and how the inclusion of women artists continues to change and further art-making as a practice, and how, finally after all these years, the role that women have begun to assume in art history has moved from being muse and model, to creator.

Words by Elle Lucena

ENTOMOPHILY

March 22, 2020 | Archives | No Comments

A two-person exhibition by Lui Gonzales and Jezzel Wee

The intricate relationship between plant and animal life by far surpasses civilisation in age and function. Tracing back to the Mesozoic era (252-66 million years ago) which signalled the entrance of animal life onto land, entomophily pertains to the process in which pollen from various (and often, flowering) plants are distributed by insects. While frequently overlooked by the common person preoccupied with daily affairs, such a minuscule process undoubtedly serves to be one of the underlying structures that keeps nature functioning. In the two-woman exhibition “Entomophily,” Lui Gonzales and Jezzel Wee make a return to this process by depicting the intricate and complex dance between these age-old creatures, and in effect, highlighting the crucial role that pollination plays in a world that is slowly losing its connection to nature.

Gonzales derives inspiration from specimens of insects that are often collected for the purpose of observation and preservation. In her works, however, there also seems to be the aim to present, and to render the degradation they suffer due to man-made actions that continue to negatively impact biodiversity. Each of the pieces are formatted in such a way that every detail, no matter how tiny or obscure, is brought to the forefront. By magnifying them to better fit the human sight, their complex build and structure is brought closer and made more familiar to our eyes.

Wee recreates the enchanting diversity of plant life through her ceramic works, choosing the medium to emphasize the fragility and complexity of her subjects. Her pieces invite the audience to view them from afar, as smaller parts of a larger whole; as the eyes move closer, however, they become more and more distinct in appearance and character, each detail rendered in lifelike form as if caught in movement.

At its core “Entomophily” brings us back full circle to the very processes that predate human life. In a world that is slowly beginning to forget our roots in nature and the systems that keep it thriving, the show serves to be a reminder of the crucial role these minuscule processes play, and how their loss may greatly impact life as we know it today.

Words by Elle Lucena

SLUMBER PARTY STORIES

March 1, 2020 | Archives | No Comments

A two-person exhibition by Mitch Garcia and Iya Regalario

Sleepover for the Unfeigned Minds

Slumber Party; also known a Pyjama Party or Sleep Over, is a party most commonly held by teenage girls, where a guest or guests are invited to stay overnight at the home of a friend. Sometimes to celebrate birthdays or other special events. The slumber party is often called “Rites of Passage” as a teenager begins to assert independence and develop social connections outside immediate families.

Beginning in the 90’s slumber parties perceived a new trend. Some parents allow co-ed sleepovers for teenagers with boys and girls sleeping overnight together. While some parents decried the trend, others defended it as safer alternative than teenage dating outside.

Iya Regalario and Mitch Garcia collectively set this hyper reality but simulated enigma of storytelling and hallucinogenic party experience over the burning wood that they called, “sLumber Party Stories“; A collection of individual stories reflecting personal interests while using wood (lumber) as the matter of piece is the denominator. Beyond the physical aesthetics it is a material variously represents time and life.

Iya Regalario tells her travel stories about what she heard on spirits lingering onto driftwoods or wooden objects. The rings of a logged tree reveal the years, decades or centuries it has witnessed through time. Mitch Garcia uses wood as a base medium that comes into cardboard matchboxes, paper for zines and wood burning itself.

For Mitch Garcia art is a reflection of the “Quality” living in Manila, subsisting in urban scenario she collects scrap woods from furniture shops around her neighbourhood and what so ever wooden objects she found in the thrift shops, department store, hardware, market and souvenir shops. Then transforming it into upcycled mobile hand carry art boutique which she called Tak Atak similar to mobile cigarette vendo case that they called tatakatak describing the sound produces by sliding the wooden drawer doors. A daughter of prolific advertising art director, she grew up crafting and binding books, folding pop ups and embossing fonts on cardboards as a child’s play thing or doodle. As she went to college and took fine arts major in advertising, she is not interested on the curriculum and subjects because she outgrew it rather skip her classes and sit in to studio arts class, which leads her to explore contemporary visual arts. As she pursue she discovered performance art, theater, video art, new media, digital art and film. Which ironically brought her back to visual communication and advertising discipline. In order to support her art making she accepting freelance advertising jobs. Learning the technicalities from the advertising collaterals while searching the form and medium for her art making. She experimented on package designs particularly on match boxes as an art form later on evolved in to book covers. Having printing machines and equipment for her freelance job becomes advantage for her art making. She is independently publishing her own matchbooks printed digitally but manually die cut, bounded, stencilled, spot laminated and assembled. Self producing meaning she is a one-man army publishing hundreds up to thousand different kind of books she designed and created. The process of creating becomes her mantra and meditation.

Iya Regalario’s manifestation of personal thoughts and feelings about the society, politics and culture is more often not on identity as a Filipino. Rather involves the simplicity of daily experiences and exposure to complexity of what is being a “Filipino” or ultimately human being entails. As for her artistic process her discipline is in storytelling and illustration. She started experimenting on wood which she discovered the challenge of diligence and patience to withstand long hours of burning to create images on wood or pyrography since she works on her first exhibition.

Iya Regalario is a Filipino visual artist centered on illustration, wood pyrography, installation and murals. Her art pays tribute to the function of images as exposed identities, visual narratives, philosophical case studies, and agents for social change. It introduces her personal visual deconstruction of socio-political and cultural realities to purposely enforce questioning, contemplation, and to move the spectator.

She had her first solo exhibit entitled Don’t Forget to Breathe in 2014 at Altro Mondo Contemporanea where she first discovered her fondness for wood. This was followed shortly after by De Anima in Kaida Contemporary, her first pyrography show in Manila. From here on out, Regalario pushes the boundaries of her medium to experiment more with wood art, and to explore more research-based and philosophical concepts as seen in her next shows, Purveyors of the Preferred View (2017) and Naïveté (2019), which were held in Altro Mondo and Metro Gallery, respectively. She has also joined several group shows in the Philippines.

Regalario believes that collaboration, public art and community are vital in developing one’s creativity and identity as an artist. She asserts that the unpredictability of public environments, and working with unfamiliar identities keep art fluid, fiery, boundless, and grounded. She has participated in several art festivals in the Philippines including Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival (2013-2016), Manila Biennale (2018), and Katipunan Art Festival (2017).

She is a member of Quezon City-based comics collective, Malantot Komiks. In 2018, she teamed up with Baguio-based visual projections artist Goose Industria to create projection -mapped murals in various public places in the country. The duo, named Sulô Projects, have also started curating group exhibitions to promote the spirit of art and collaboration.

Mitch Garcia is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Manila Philippines who works on the premise of: Graphic Design, Performance Art, Painting, Video, Installation & Print. A bachelor of Fine Arts major in Advertising in 1999 (Philippine Women’s University)—her work crosses over Urban Advertising concepts & Contemporary Art in a 3rd world setting.Her creative concepts which challenges and originates (usually from live action) where actual reactions of cause & effect takes place, from which her works evolves into collages of sorts. She has performed both individual and collaborative: 2003 NIPAF Asian Performance Art Series Japan, 2004 LELIEU Internationale D’Art Performance Art Montreal & Quebec Canada, 2005 MIPAF 1st Macau International Performance Art Festival, 2006 Segundo Encuentro Arte Corporal Caracas Venezuela (among others). Recently in 2015 she has also performed in P-NOISE Copenhagen Denmark. She has also done performances for local independent films: Such as Melancholia (A 9-hour film by Lav Diaz) and Khavn Dela Cruz’s Kumander Kulas in late 2000, worked as Art Director for Mondo Manila 2 (Alipato) and has mounted several exhibitions simultaneously.

Her video works has been shown in the “End Frame Video Art Projects” & several other countries from –Such as PERFORMATIVITY Singapore, NIVAF Video Art Project Japan, and IMAGINE spoils of love 9-installations Greenbelt 5.She is one of the founding members of TAMA –Tupada Action and Media Art in 2001,Participated in ASEUM (Asia Europe New Media Art Symposium) 09, and Fete Dela WSK (among others).In 2008 founded INC –Innovative Noise Collective .Co-founder Artist Coordinator for the 1st Manila Biennale Open City in 2018. At present, she is a full time artist while on the side runs her Manila based design team MG Freelance Creatives.

Iya and Mitch reminisced and simplified the narratives on story telling as you enter their sLumber Party. But be aware how the pieces can penetrate your senses like you are standing still beside the burning woodpile stocked and hallucinating in burning cold sensation inside their tell-tales wandering and waiting to the climatic blow and asking where the story ends. As they telling the narratives they apply some of the sentences from Sol Le Witt as principles on art making such as; “The concept of the work of art may involve the matter of piece or the process which it is made. The process is mechanical and should not be tampered. When words such painting and sculpture are used they connote a whole tradition and imply a consequent acceptance of this tradition, thus placing limitation on the artists who would be reluctant to make art that goes beyond limitation. And irrational judgment leads into new experiences.”

Words by Ian Madrigal

SITTING QUIETLY, DOING NOTHING

March 1, 2020 | Archives | No Comments

A solo exhibition by Ikea Rizalon

There exists an undeniable semblance of comfort in old images of strangers from the distant past. Vintage photographs tell a story of wonder, of splendid figures dressed in almost extravagant attires; in essence, a momentary pause in a reality we could only imagine. In Ikea Rizalon’s latest solo exhibition “Sitting Quietly, Doing Nothing,” she makes a return to the allure of this fleeting past, inviting the audience to indulge in the comfort and simplicity of these frozen realities.

Rizalon’s artistry is rooted in technique. Against the backdrop of a blank canvas, she recreates scenes inspired from vintage reading materials and magazines. At first glance, it is clear where this influence is taken from. The figures in her art are like characters in classic films and print advertisements. They watch television, lounge around a settee, and engage in domestic chores like cooking and ironing. However, beyond these subjects, Rizalon carefully details a world that is captivatingly charming. Furnishings are painted in attractive colours and hues that match and complement one another; nature is lush and thriving with life; and open spaces are roomy and inviting. This is a world that tempts and entices, and perhaps that is the intent behind the show.

But for Rizalon, these images are more than just a recreation of the past; there is the aim to redefine and give meaning to them. In a world where they remain simply as a testament of an era gone by, Rizalon manages to breathe life and vigour into these realities, by letting the finished works be as equally important as the process of creating them. Known for her use of thread, the act of embroidery becomes a means through which she leaves a mark on her art, a sort of identity – unique, distinct, and very personal. They are scattered all across the canvas, and stand out as focal points that draw the attention of the viewer to one specific area of the work. Their placements are more than just random; for the artist, they represent an insatiable itch to be at ease while bound only to a certain space.

In “Sitting Quietly, Doing Nothing,” the romantic and visually-stimulating take centre stage. Compared to previous shows, Rizalon becomes more playful with her materials and technique, resulting in figures that are as alive as the bright splashes of colour that frame the canvas, each work a window into a distant world, where men and women with perfectly coiffed hair and crisp tops and dresses lounge about in an almost lackadaisical fashion. It is the charm of opulence, contentment, and safety that is most reflected in these set of works, and somewhere along the inviting textures of the velvet cushions and soft carpets, there is this rather tempting invitation to stop and savour these transient snapshots of a rich and altogether familiar reality we rarely find in the fast-paced present of today.

Words by Elle Lucena

UNLOCK.02021212

February 2, 2020 | Archives | No Comments

A group exhibition featuring the works of selected artists

In “UNLOCK.02021212,” selected artists from various art groups, circles, and backgrounds present their recent works. Against the gallery walls, each of the works allow the audience to peek into a world full of colour, strange forms, and restless imaginations. Though varying in medium, style, and technique, the exhibition brings together an assortment of artworks created by contemporary artists – both local and foreign – in an effort to chart and map the extent to which the art scene moves and permeates through the dynamic social landscape of an ever-changing country.

UNLOCK.02021212” presents the works of Jie Adamat, Jovert Aguilar, Dolpee Alcantara, Jonas Miguel Arlegui, Paulo Barerras, Severo Baring III, Aaron Bautista, Jefkin Bienes, Chito Borja, Jhon Lery Capili, Cezar Bejo Cardel Jr., Christian Carillaza, Carla Chang, Jerome Choco, Boyet De Mesa, Winslomer Delos Santos, Azriel Domingo, Ces Eugenio, Aga Francisco, Vic Gamido Jr., Sarah Mariano Geneblazo, Abraham Gonzales, Darwin “Japat” Guevarra, Isadore Gabriel Lerio, Lyndon Maglalang, Pabsie Martus , Jana Mendoza, Jerome Montañez , Leonardo Onia Jr., Lileth Oracion, Herbert “Ebok” Pinpiño, Manuel Pinpiño Jr., Rex Roxas, Arturo Sanchez Jr., Elvira Dulce Santos, Erick Sausa, Aui Suarez, Hamilton Sulit, Herminio Tan, and Franz Marlon Vocalan.

Words by Elle Lucena

EMPTY BOX

February 2, 2020 | Archives | No Comments

A solo exhibition by Mael de Guzman

Within the four walls of a box

Mael de Guzman’s seventh solo exhibition titled “Empty Box” takes the everyday and places it into a setting that does more than just provoke thought. Employing the use of empty boxes created from selected materials, De Guzman portrays the ubiquitous and often overlooked image of an empty box as a physical representation of the human psyche.

Empty Box” is, quite literally, a collection of several empty boxes. Unlike the commonplace cardboard box used to transport goods, produce, and assorted sundries, De Guzman creates a series of hollow wooden boxes, placing them together in various forms and arrangements, and furnishing them with an assortment of embellishments. On its surfaces, the remains of print cutouts of animals, vehicles, and human figures emerge, worn out in quality, and strongly hinting at something that has been weathered with the passage of time. Clumps of sawdust frame the crates, and in certain areas, parts and pieces of their surfaces are scratched off and broken. De Guzman’s boxes aren’t clean and new; they’re gnarled and discoloured, held together by the curious possibilities of the many things they’ve carried, and the stories they’ve told along the way.

However, these objects serve to be more than just mere decoration. In “Empty Box,” they become symbolic of the human experience. Within the four walls of a box lie a plethora of truths, emotions, and unique encounters. And while for De Guzman, the exhibit is an examination of his personal experiences, there also exists an almost serendipitous realisation that these boxes invite us to do the same, and find within its depths the encounters that linger and stay, despite the passage of time.

Words by Elle Lucena

UNDER THE BROAD UMBRELLA 2019

December 1, 2019 | Archives | No Comments

A group exhibition featuring the works of selected artists

Beneath the shade of an umbrella

For more than a decade since its founding in 2006, Kaida Contemporary’s walls have served as a refuge for arts of all kind. Now an annual exhibition organised to celebrate the end of the year, Under The Broad Umbrella signals the culmination of twelve months’ worth of shows and events, a coming together of both artists, art workers, and enthusiasts, as they observe and discuss the ever-changing landscape of the Philippine art scene and the direction it is inevitably headed towards in the coming years.

This 2019, Under The Broad Umbrella showcases the works of 94 established and emerging artists. Against the white walls of the gallery space, each piece is a peek into their world, one that is both strange, colourful, and embellished with careful contemplation; altogether, they provide an introspective and thoughtful examination into the form, technique, and style that characterise contemporary art as we know it today.

Words by Elle Lucena