Month: July 2020

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PERIOD

July 12, 2020 | Archives | No Comments

A solo exhibition by Demosthenes Campos.

Time, Framed

Periodization in art history, whether dependent on the movement in an era or a fascination with common themes set within a specific epoch, has always marked our way of seeing objects of beauty through the years. Picasso’s blue and rose periods found him painting different spectrums of monochrome matching emotional and troubled images that haunt us to this very day. Plotting the development and documentation of art from ancient civilizations to contemporary production has shown over and over again how artists created innovations along the way, often responding to a previous period with resistance and bringing tendencies, stylings and techniques to the opposite direction with each consecutive movement.

In Filipino artist Demosthenes Campos’ exhibition, however, “Period pertains to this particular time that the artist finds himself in while creating, trying to make a living and surviving. Harkening to the past while giving homage to the phases of life and the myriad ways that mark the ebb and flow of cycles, Campos draws strength and inspiration from the genius of artists of earlier generations as he persists in creating his mixed media assemblages in the time of COVID-19. Sagwan expresses stormy seas, but all human beings find themselves in “Iisang Bangka”, sharing the responsibility of synchronized rowing to cross into calmer waters. Time After Time resembles the tiles from a chessboard, where each move has its own slice of time in the game clock and different openings result into varied consequences. Old Fashioned with its bleached wood and pastel colors touches on nostalgia and remembrance. Interval and Span both dwell on impermanence and bridging one phase to the next, serving as pauses and interludes, physically buttressed by wooden slats and string. Heaven and Earth reminds one of an angel’s wings, which signifies perpetual hope amidst hardship and adversity, and faith that there are always better opportunities forthcoming.

As the effects of the global pandemic permeate our lives, it is impossible to ignore the changes they have made to our routines and our very existence. Life and death, sickness and health, suffering and reprieve, all threads loose and tightened are woven into the fabric that blankets the whole world, much like the wood pieces, paint, fibers, string, nails and bolts that keep Campos’ assemblages together. With the artist asserting that what transpires is merely a punctuation and not the end, there lies an invitation to move forward from this one period to the next. About the artist

About the artist
Demosthenes Campos graduated from the Technological University of the Philippines. His fascination with form, texture and the physical characteristics of myriad materials has led him to unexpected explorations in mixed media that dwell on environmental issues, urban landscapes, growth and decay. He has participated in group shows in the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, UP Vargas Museum, Ayala Museum’s ArtistSpace and Art Fair PH, emerging as one of his generation’s most prolific abstractionists. A grand prize winner of the Nippon Paint Spray Art Contest in 2000, his works have been cited by other competitions such as third place in the Philippine Association of Printmakers Open Fine Print Competition, finalist in the Instituto Cervantes Letras Y Figuras, and several prizes in the AAP Annual Art Competitions. He also placed second in the 2006 AAP-ECCA Semi-Annual Art Competition, and most recently won an honorable mention from the 15th GSIS National Art Competition 2019.

Words by Kaye O’Yek

STOCKPILE

July 12, 2020 | Archives | No Comments

A two-person exhibition featuring the works of Mikko Baladjay and Babylyn Geroche Fajilagutan.

An imprint of a dynamic encounter

It is often in the intersection of experience and resolve that art is created.  In “StockPile,” there is a focus on the interim, in the medium as it takes form on the canvas, directing the flow of artistic creation in ways that are uncertain and, to an extent, almost arbitrary. In their two-person exhibition, artists Mikko Baladjay and Babylyn Geroche Fajilagutan draw on the word stockpile in its most literal sense—an accumulated stack of papers of various kinds, textures, and origin, gathered at random or on a whim, while in transit, or as it sits solitary and forgotten in the corner of a room. The result of years of collection, these pieces tell their own stories, often hidden and silent, but on which a strong imprint still remains to be visible. From these found pieces Baladjay and Fajilagutan create a collection of works that explore a more process-centric interpretation of their art.

Baladjay cites an interest in secondhand objects as one of the main inspirations for his artistry. Cutouts from books and magazines are pasted atop one another and painted over in colours that are bright and visually appealing, drawing the eyes to the curves and textures of the works’ surfaces which manage to complement both the greenery of faraway landscapes and gardens, and the soft creams of book pages that have begun to brown along the edges. Baladjay also returns to canvas painting, drawing influence from the memories of elastomeric and acrylic paints from his earlier years. The resulting pieces are almost nostalgic in perception, with shapes and colours that evoke a rather keen sense of sentimentality. At its core, Baladjay’s works lie somewhere in between the recollection of his own personal memories and that of the materials he employs in his art. What remains is an extensive spectrum of possibilities wherein artist, medium, and audience are able to communicate and connect visually.

Fajilagutan fuses formalism and intuition in creating art, following a process that begins at a particular point—colour. For the artist, this is where she is able to experiment, to indulge as she searches for the colours that may define and further her artistic exploration. She imagines them often in dualities and sets, as elements which, when grouped together, manage to complement and enhance one another. From here on, everything else is guided by intuition; the unpredictability of the artistic process is what marks the finished product. The act of cutting, tearing, and stitching together pieces of paper collected over the years, and of various nature—old plates, random doodles, newspaper cutouts, reject prints, etc.—add a very personal touch to the finished artworks, and likewise create a visual language that is both intimate and stirring. The end result is a mystery and a sweet surprise. For both artist and audience, there begins to exist a palpable sense of discovery in the artmaking process.

The journey in which the medium transforms into art takes centre stage in “StockPile.” For both Baladjay and Fajilagutan, a sense of reverence and sacredness is recognised in their choice of materials, one that is ultimately reflected in the careful composition of each element in their works. Paper is flexible and vulnerable. It decays and weathers. But their ephemeral nature poses a challenge: to break free from the constraints of the medium’s finiteness and create an almost limitless array of pieces with what you are given and could find. As most materials are a reflection of the environment they exist in, in “StockPile,” they begin to reflect more than mere isolated experiences. They become larger and more encompassing. In a time of great turmoil, they are the surfaces on which history unmistakably leaves its imprint.

Words by Elle Lucena