Month: May 2020

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May 31, 2020 | Archives | No Comments

A three-person exhibition featuring the works of Pete Jimenez, Jason Moss, and Jose Tence Ruiz.

Nutrition by Attrition

One of the defining attributes of Osmosis is that it works because of water. It works as a quiet flux. Imagine now, as if there were ever any epoch spared of it, an epoch where Chismis, rumor, falsehood, fake news flowed like water. All epochs have had their share, but ours has hit a set of new highs in the channels of Lyotard’s fabled mediasphere. We are awash, floating, in an unending flux, streams, torrents of data, a big part of which may be false. We, in this captive flotation, may not escape absorbing this, a “Chismosis,” as it were, and thus find our sense of certainty, our sense of assurance, our sense of knowing some things are indubitably true diluted, waterlogged, wrinkled like the fingers of an overstaying swimmer.

If knowledge is a source of growth, of psychic nutrition, then our intake is spiked by attrition, by the possibility of deceit, by the toxicity of tort, by just being painfully misled. 2020 in this developing nation we all cherish, is, aside from everything, a flood of this toxin of untruth. Who is to tell which is true or not? Honestly, that’s a complicated question. Without necessarily answering it to everyone’s satisfaction, we deal, we cope, survive, we hope to live to fight another day. The works that Pete Jimenez, Jason Moss and Jose Tence Ruiz offer for this show, “Chismosis,” are like children sucking as much oxygen as they can in a fog of nitrous oxide. They suck it in, hold their breath as long as they can and plod on. Jimenez concocts material metonyms from debris to suggest lawlagging legislatures, daring transport cyclists, and social media cliches. Moss applies a trenchant eye on shallow, even degrading entertainment, apocalyptic paranoia and downright hallucinogenic misrepresentation, all coming to us with the fees that we have invested in Television and Social Media. Tence Ruiz calls out command hypocrisy, the tangle between humans and their self-destructive desires and the scorched earth despair that chaperones the simple wage earning majority.

Chismosis,” while trying to be cute, often wrings acerbic. But even in a caustic chemical blitzkrieg, the onus is to duck, hold one’s breath, avoid dying at all costs and prevail. The three artists of this show uncover their survivalist notions and hope, god forbid, they have chosen correctly. Most of us will have to do with coping from this crisis to the next, finding a flicker of form and beauty in between, like a rusty but well wrought filigreed talisman.


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


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