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