Month: May 2019

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DOUBLE FEATURE

May 26, 2019 | Archives | No Comments

A group exhibition featuring the works of Aldy Aguirre, Fran Alvarez, Mark Bardinas, Rolf Campos, Jobert Cruz, Yas Doctor, Jacob Lindo, and David Viray

Modes of interpretation

The influence of dualism in art is evident throughout history. Much of its origins can be attributed to persisting discourse in the fields of philosophy and religion, and the various attempts to explain and depict the oft-complex relationship between man and nature. Due to the tendency of historical art to portray symbolisms and metaphorical allegories as a means to expound on ideas that border the metaphysical, the principle of dualism has come to refer to many things – at times, two independent and indivisible concepts, at others the seamless synthesis of contrasting and largely opposing ideas.

Double Feature” examines this phenomenon. Artists Aldy Aguirre, Fran Alvarez, Mark Bardinas, Rolf Campos, Jobert Cruz, Yas Doctor, Jacob Lindo, and David Viray present an engaging collection of works that seek to study how the concept of dualism manifests both internally and externally. Employing the use of diptychs to visually engage the audience, various subjects are placed side-by-side to highlight how they contrast and complement one another.

At its core, the exhibit provokes reflection. Often set against a monochromatic background, the subjects seem to be suspended in mid-air. They reach out to the viewer, drawing them into the depths of their rich texture and details, while still allowing space for personal interpretations and experiences to seep through. As such, the exhibit could be perceived as a process in constant motion, where concepts, thoughts, and ideas are flexible, and prone to multiple interpretations.

Double Feature” urges us to perceive these interpretations as essential to understanding the world. By placing ourselves at the centre of this process, we become aware of how opposing and seemingly irreconcilable concepts overlap, and the ways in which they complement and reflect one another.

Words by Elle Lucena

PARES

May 26, 2019 | Archives | No Comments

A solo exhibition by Carlo Caloy Gernale

A zoetrope of a broken nation

Throughout history, diptychs have been used to convey the sense of continuity and connection, a concept Carlo Caloy Gernale touches on in his latest solo exhibition “Pares.” Rather than presenting a simple narrative, Gernale traces how individual images that carry their own weight and history may be juxtaposed against one another and ultimately contribute to the persisting discourse on current social issues.

Gernale employs the use of diptychs to further his point across, conceptualizing how pairs of vastly contrasting images may complement one another despite their purported differences in subject matter; as such, each panel in “Pares” may be perceived as a standalone work. However, Gernale adds another layer to this process of interpretation by systematically positioning the panels to form a more coherent and complete picture of Philippine society.

The collection of works in this exhibit is a study on current social issues and concerns, a topic Gernale continually draws inspiration from. Familiar scenes and images are illustrated in realistic detail against a backdrop of grim and gloomy colours, the greys of the figures rendering the subjects almost lifeless and cold, a rather straightforward statement on the complicated and at times cruel, socio-political landscape of today’s era. Gernale finds direct inspiration from mass media outlets such as television and social media, and even personal conversations with friends and acquaintances. The constant and unceasing interactions amongst people and their physical and social environment, as well as the ways in which these elements respond to one another, form the gist of Gernale’s body of work.

In “Pares,” the interconnectedness of the works augment the overarching narrative Gernale is seeking to tell. Like a zoetrope in motion, each piece complements the next, and the next, and the next, forming a dynamic interpretation of the ever-changing state of a healing nation.

Words by Elle Lucena

TAO

May 5, 2019 | Archives | No Comments

A solo exhibition by Jerson Samson

Fragments of Identity

The concept of the individual is heavily explored in Jerson Samson’s oeuvre. Whether the individual is perceived to be a unique and distinct being, or imagined as part of a large and formless entity, Samson employs the use of various media to draw attention to how multiple interpretations of the self could manifest in the physical form. Identity is transitory; people are seen as perpetually involved in the process of completion. The complexity of human emotion is given substance, and we are encouraged to repeatedly examine and reexamine ourselves within these visual parameters.

In “Tao,” Samson brings together an assemblage of sculptures and paintings that silently trace the process of introspection. Beginning with the self in relation to one’s environment, a trio of hand-moulded sculptures replicate the human form, its features slightly tinged with the mystical. The visage of an androgynous figure looks vaguely human, where pieces of its partially formed body protrude and split, creating the illusion of life and movement. Samson personifies the elusive wind, which we are able to imagine by isolating the empty, half-formed spaces that swathe and penetrate the three figures. The remaining fragments form the picture of ruins which, to Samson, become whole only within the subconscious mind.

The process of introspection further moves outward; from the self, it looks beyond. The individual is imagined as part of a homogeneous sea of people, each person visualised as a mere stroke of the brush. Indistinct and uniform, human emotions and experiences are collectively grouped into one coherent mass, where the notion of identity is processed as a whole. In contrast to the three sculptures, Samson seeks to establish the ability of a unified mass to influence perceptions of the self.

In “Tao,” the collective sum of an individual’s experiences and emotions ultimately form its identity which, by virtue of its mutable nature, renders the individual a work in progress, always headed towards subsequent completion. The exhibition records the changing notions of the self—both as a singular phenomenon and an amalgamation of events and conditions, allowing us to find ourselves amid the gentle curves and sharp corners of half-formed ruins, or amongst an endless sea of people, moving like minuscule dots on a surface that is perpetually changing.

Words by Elle Lucena

SUGAR PILL

May 5, 2019 | Archives | No Comments

A two-woman show featuring the works of Nina Garibay and Naomi Mendoza

Drowning in Kitsch

In their book Kitsch! Cultural politics and taste, sociology professors Ruth Holliday and Tracey Potts claim that kitsch has very much integrated itself into our everyday lives, to the point where, as per their words, “we are drowning in [it].” Kitsch refers to objects perceived to be lowbrow and tacky, often mimicking a preexisting style or aesthetic, and which employ the use of mass-produced designs and popular (pop) icons. In the last decades, there seems to have been a steady increase in the consumption and manufacture of such objects, to the point where it has come to influence the development of aesthetics and design in the contemporary era.

In “Sugar Pill,” Nina Garibay and Naomi Mendoza refer to the concept of kitsch with a strong sense of irony. They mimic the atmosphere of a kitschy café, surrounding the viewer with an eye-catching collection of images and objects that serve to be a visual temptation. While kitsch is often used in a pejorative manner, Garibay and Mendoza dress the concept in sweet colours, transforming it into an almost overwhelming wonderland of food and popular references. Even the disinterested spectator finds something to immerse themselves in.

For Garibay, the consumption of images goes beyond the surface. She explores how the process of tearing ready-made magazine pages and isolating selected parts can infer new meaning to the work. Oil paint is integrated into a collection of collages, allowing the viewer to observe how the act of painting is more than a simple visual replication. Every approach is emotionally-charged. Images originally created for the purpose of mass consumption are transformed into an eclectic montage of visual references, familiar to a wide range of audience, but subjective in its conception.

Mendoza takes a more literal approach to the concept of kitsch. Employing taste as her primary inspiration, the artist recreates a sumptuous collection of gustatory delights. Desserts and delicacies are presented for the viewer to consume, drawing attention to how they overwhelm the senses and in effect, consume us in return. Cupcakes, milkshakes, and ice cream popsicles are adorned in bright and playful colours, arranged temptingly on serving trays. We are invited to reach out and take a bite. The sensual pleasure of swimming in a sea of pretty pinks and blues is enough to sate our hunger.

Sugar Pill” seeks not to provoke sympathy, but to highlight how consumable products and services momentarily distract us from our actual conditions. Garibay and Mendoza encourage us to identify ourselves as consumers, always in the process of mindlessly devouring anything that attracts our attention. The exhibit immerses us in a world devoid of nutritional value, where appearances take primary importance. As the audience, we begin to realise that we are slowly drowning in a sea of saccharine pleasures, sinking deeper and deeper to the point of no return.

Words by Elle Lucena