Month: June 2018

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SOUL PORTRAITS

June 3, 2018 | Archives | 2 Comments

A solo exhibition by Arnold Bornios.

Deciphering Spirit

In Arnold Bornios’ “Soul Portraits,” the artist presents intimate paintings of family and friends, some from snapshots, some actual sitters, and some composites from ideas or emotions that filled the artist and let themselves out through his works.

Up-close and personal, the faces distort identity, devoid of features that betray gender, race or age, but uncannily reverberate emotion and energy through the thick layers of impasto, collages and acrylics. Paint is applied to a sumptuous layering of printed materials, some coming from glossy magazines or comic books, others from flyers, brochures, bus tickets and old receipts. 

Paper is part of our lives, as they say, from cradle to grave, with our first footprints imprinted on them in birth certificates and hospital records. Paper money and cheques represent value, books, magazines, letters and art store information. Diaries, note pads and stick-ons remind us of everyday tasks and events for our personal use and for keeping track; posters and flyers promote and market products, communicate campaigns and entice us to try new products; paper bags and wrapping paper may contain foodstuffs and surprises. With the diversity of its uses and most of life’s milestones associated with paper, it is perhaps only fitting for the artist to use this readily available medium to convey his message.

Having been born in Honolulu to immigrant parents from Abra, Bornios admits being Filipino in blood and American in mind. He credits growing up in Hawaii’s melting pot culture with shaping not only his character, but also for dealing with reconciling identity and spirit for most of his life. He recently moved his artistic practice to the Philippines in order to engage a new and transformative cultural experience rooted in his ethnic Filipino identity. However, it is his constant self-reflection that fuels him on as he creates his visually compelling pieces.

Inspired by Onib Olmedo’s expressionistic figurative paintings, Bornios’ Soul Portraits define his sitters’ personalities by his robust paint strokes while taking care to uncover subtle details that delineate character. In his process of rediscovering one’s notion of self through perceptions of immigration and displacement, he creates glimpses of the soul with heavy collages and acrylics. In his portraits, presented in abstracted monumental form, viewers are compelled to confront the paintings with their own individual identities and experiences face to face as they find themselves caught in the conversation between the artist and the sitter. Bornios’ use of collage acts as a physical record of time and space, a remnant of location, and a residue of an actual event, as he employs materials from mainstream print media to challenge the notions of a paperless age and cloud storage pervading the minds of the technology-obsessed. With his creations, Bornios puts into the fore what for him matters most – a lot of spirit, and a whole lot of soul.

Words by Kaye O’Yek

BABY GIRL X

June 3, 2018 | Archives | 2 Comments

A solo exhibition by Tekla Tamoria.

Paper Pyramid Puzzle Pieces

It took four years to create two paper gowns.

Ma. Althea “Tekla” Tamoria’s “Baby Girl X” are finally ready to be shown outside the artist’s studio. From the long journey from her Studio Arts degree to several years in the advertising industry, then to her post-university Garments training, several group shows and her Colony being the recent Art in the Park’s must-see installation, the artist’s painstaking attention to detail, penchant for bright colors and incessant folding has finally reached fruition.

Baby Girl X” presents the artist’s literal handiwork, with each crease on her pyramids, hexagons and triangles smoothed and flattened by her own fingers – while waiting for meetings, riding in jeeps, binge-watching TV shows and basically hanging out. Her hands are so used to the exercise, she often finds herself on autopilot. Folding paper has become second nature, meditative and soothing, a way to contain pent-up energy and evolving notions. By combining Tamoria’s multihued modular fragments, she creates floor-length dresses of spikes that defy paper’s characteristic stiffness. While respecting the inherent qualities of her material to hold its shape, she raises it towards extraordinary levels with her laborious effort, creating something not only wearable, but boasts of graceful drapes and sensual cutouts.

Meticulously engineered and put together, Tamoria’s “Baby Girl X” are worthy of representation in both art catalogues and fashion magazines. As such, photographs of the dresses are exhibited both as documentation and pages off a fashion portfolio. Her wall bound works, however, are pattern-filled rarities on their own, with interlocking pieces simulating puzzles. Rainbow colors are combined much like pixels in a photograph, Tamoria taking advantage of paper’s smooth and flat surface and transforming the material into three-dimensional hexagonal forms. The artist collects various types of paper and sorts them systematically, so she knows exactly what to set off against which. She also set aside something special, her favorite shade of red, for one of her favorite pieces.

The artist’s obsessiveness and pursuit for perfection is palpable in each artwork, her seriousness for the craft showing through the spirited play on colors and repetition of shapes. Pattern-making has emerged as one of her strengths, with her works grounded on intelligent design. The time and labor spent on each piece are visually evident, proving discipline to be the backbone of Tamoria’s art. In her hands, the manufactured medium is breathed soul, the artist’s passion giving personality to the inanimate. Her configurations may be calculated and premeditated, but it is her undeniable energy, dexterity, playfulness and problem-solving that not only permeate, but polish her pieces with artistic flair.

Words by Kaye O’Yek