Dec 5 - Dec 28, 2013
Metro Manila, Philippines is a jumble of several towns, an aggregate of highly heterogeneous architectural elements, a weird collage of abyssal social gaps and human rips. Manila is an immensely fragile megalopolis, both intense and violent, built on an archipelago relentlessly threatened by earthquakes and typhoons. Every single year during the rain season, a score of those typhoons crash down on the isles and cities of this land isolated in the middle of the sea. Whole districts are flooded. Landslides carry away in their streams of mud the few belongings of already destitute people. Yet, while impassive nature dominates everything, people do not give up. On the contrary, they get organized, help themselves, straighten up and look ahead.
Highblood, my current work, is a continuation of Orange Vital, exhibited in October, 2012, in Hue, Vietnam. Orange Vital evoked that interior strength deeply set in our animal soul, which urges man to go on living, even when any kind of hope seems to have deserted his conscience. In a final rush, the oppressed man is still able to straighten up and look his torturer in the face.
The typhoon is gone, people have been broken, ruined. Fear and anxiety are have not vanished, highblood. Pressure is sharp, highblood. Manila is panic-stricken, ablaze with red LEDs, staggering, yet still alive. People have withstood the plight, have been helped, supported-- thousands of outstretching hands. Even when overwhelmed and cornered, they cling to whatever or whoever is within their reach. They have been saved. The typhoon is gone, the time has come to rebuild, dig about in scattered debris, salvage what can still be recycled, gather the bits and pieces asunder to construct a new makeshift home, and raise new hopes, however fragile. It is imperative for people to stand up and start again.
Highblood is a series of collages and paintings on paper which has been cut out, torn, stuck, layers of paper like layers of paint, matte or bright, thick or light, fluorescent or dark colors-- white, gray or opaque whites, smooth colors, velvety or oily blacks, and shades of orange too, flashing, blazing, and stickers, and oil, acrylic or industrial paint, with runnings and lines over them. All these bits and pieces have been meticulously stuck together, geometrically gathered, mathematically thought over. The whole painting must hold together: shapes, colors and composition are fundamental. The entire piece must be given weight and density. Its reading must be immediate, striking, yet must gradually unveil a far deeper meaning, in an intimate relationship. The circumstances of the work are called to mind through the many collages created, collages as many as the pages of life. The pieces in Highblood must be read like a novel, as it is a story made of the different events and experiences leading up to the present state of things.
Dark Side of the Sun
Dec 5 - Dec 28, 2013
Dark Side of the Sun explores the studio practice of twelve artists and the conflicts present in their individual impulses and the mechanisms behind their artistic behavior. It is an engagement with irrationality and dysfunctional psychology, and its result in the depiction of schizophrenic sensations and creativity.
These selected artists usher in works that act as formally charged criteria and allegories for the burdens that plague contemporary art and existence. The exhibition becomes a quicksand territory where their ideas and instincts dangerously pussyfoot as acceptable artistic concerns. As a result their reflection of social ills and human behavior emerge as underlying subjects.
Connected by their concern for forms of contemporary expression, one situated at an ironic distance from a putative tradition in their locale, the artists included are partially representative of an emerging generation in the Manila art scene. This attempt, though, makes it clear at once that there is no single identity for their efforts, perhaps only significant, in the scale of ambition. It is not properly contemporary except in the sense that it sometimes incites or parodies notions of their own practice vis-à-vis their cabal of influences. Their views of contemporary art are not orbited around generic convictions and though these artists are related by preconditions they are ultimately diverse in practice.
The works manifest an acknowledgement of artistic precedents; one that strongly shares ranks them as ‘outsider’ artists, whether in actuality, origin, or imagination. Their respective assertions in fact place their direction outside of conventional trend. If painting in an unpopular language is a kind of social rebellion, then these works could be understood as statements of resistance symptomatic of a cultural fracture in a chaotic era of infinite distractions.
The Snowball Effect
Dec 5 - Dec 28, 2013
I’m interested in creating something that is recognizable but perhaps doesn’t quite relate to a realistic experience. I look for images mostly from newspapers, old books and also from the internet. I like fusing various elements to create a new “substance” that encourages new interpretations and elicits various reactions.
Most of the time, the images that I use in my work with come spontaneously as I am working. In most cases, when I start a piece I have no idea where it will take me and what the outcome will be. In a way, I let the piece dictate to me how it wants to be finished. Images develop almost before I can understand what they are all about. Very much like a snowball that is rolled off a hill, an idea slowly picks up momentum, gathers speed, engulfs and absorbs anything in its path and ultimately ends up as an enormous mass.
How things are formed, the processes involved, greatly interest me. I have always been inclined to discovering and witnessing the countless permutations of how things come to be. Spontaneity breeds surprise and I think that is what I value the most when working on a piece. It’s not about having a special paint or paper nor is it all about skill. What I believe is essential is a mentality of openness and resourcefulness in working with what is available.
When I create my works, I feel as though I am constructing a sort of hideaway, a reserve that allows be to detach from the world and yet think about it as well, one that I can revisit to re-evaluate my motives as to why I am creating works in the first place.