Commune

“COMMUNE” – Lakbay Kalikasan at  SM Art Center

 

A journey into intimacy with nature is the inspirational force behind the Aroma Art Academy, a band of Cebuano artists impelled to record, document, and perpetuate the slowly vanishing beauty and solitude of the countryside. Now on view at the Art Center, SM megamall, “Commune” is the appropriate title of the show as the word suggests an intense communication with the mystery of nature, an immersion into the wonders of rarely viewed places in the province of Cebu.

Participating  artists are Orley Ypon, Jun Impas, Darby Alcoseba, Luis King, Mark Lloyd Belicario, Randy Plarisan, Bobier Crispin, and Romulo Pautan.

Collectively, they come from  successive generations of Cebuano artists representing the artistic heirs of Cebuano master Martino Abellana, who encouraged his students to paint directly from nature. It is noteworthy to mention that Abellana himself was mentored by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo at the UP School of Fine Arts. Amorsolo regularly  painted outdoors, journeying on weekends with fellow artists to the countryside of Marikina, Bulacan and Tagaytay.

The French term “Plein air” is the  traditional  category for painting outdoors, meaning “in the open air.”  Outdoor was  popularized by the Impressionists such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Theodore Bazille, who as young students in Paris were inspired by the so-called Barbizon painters. A village  near the forest of Fontainebleau outside the city of Paris, the French painters, such as Theodore Rousseay, Jean-Francois Millet, and Charles-Francois Daubigny and Camille Corot,  made the French landscape the subject of their painting. They were themselves inspired by the example of the English artist John Constable, the Romantic painter whose  rural scenes  were painted directly from nature.

Following this tradition, the Aroma Art Academy also travelled to unexplored localities and remote areas  in Toledo, such as Aloguinsan, Pinamungajan, and Sodlon.

Orley Ypon now paints with loose brushstrokes, in contrast to the  previous realistic  renditions  of  his so-called “mud people.” Recalling the bathing maidens of Amorsolo, Jun Impas gives a private view of Cebuana lasses  with their lissome bodies drenched wet in a stream.  Crispin Bobier  depicts a hardy farmer departing  from his lowly shack with his  daily “co-worker.” Mark Belicario discovers erotically suggestive images in nature. Amosolo-esque is Randy Plarisan’s flowing stream and bamboo groves. Romulo Pautan captures the solitude of a deserted dwelling place shrouded with overcast skies. Lately taking up the brush, Luis King is drawn towards the serene and the pastoral, but evocative of Monet’s  restless  brushstrokes. A tangle of thick underbrush and a wild vegetation of shrubs and bushes are the woodsy setting of Daryl Alcoseba.

Emotionally swept by their deep communion with Cebu’s countryside, the artists of Aroma Art Academy share their pictorial talent with the Metro Manila public, parched for the spiritually nourishing and refreshing  aesthetic bounty of nature.

                                                -CID REYES

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patok

“PATOK”

Ricky Ambagan takes us in a Joy Ride

An artist is driven by personal experiences that have

shaped his life, particularly in one’s youth. These then become

the source of their visual images, providing a bedrock of

memories that linger not just in their memories but on their

canvases: creations and products of their artistic passions

transformed into a reality of figures and colors.

Ricky Ambagan is no exception. His current solo exhibition

at the Galerie Anna is drawn from a wellspring of memories,

and as the artist remarks, “ For me, riding a jeepney is like a

time machine experience, particularly the “Patok” jeepney. It

originated from the town of Montalban, Rizal. It was like riding

a sports loaded with loud music. The “Patok” jeepney has the

fast and furious ability to maneuver the traffic jam during rush

hours.”

With this show, Ambagan takes the viewer on a veritable

joy ride, re-creating for us, allowing us to experience the

physical thrill of the speedy ride, the dense crowd and

cacophony of noises which are the daily facts and travails of

living in the metropolis. But Ambagan does more than

physically illustrate this experience. Indeed, he derives and

imparts lessons on Pinoy culture, family relationships,

religiosity, and history, with amusing allusions to topical and

contemporary events, as reflected in our pop songs and

impassioned faith. Nationalism is prefigured by the National

Hero Jose Rizal in a jeepney, seated on its entrance floor.

Suggestive of the Christ is a long-haired and bearded passenger.

The immense crowd that gathered in the streets welcoming the

visit of Pope Francis, hardly seen in a blazing radiance of white

light, bespeaks of our country’s ardent Catholicism. Local color

is splashed in the balloons and cotton candies and iced drinks

that comfort the harassed drivers and motorists who are on the

verge of a road rage. Here are glimmerings of young love and

romantic assignations where the jeepney itself becomes the

frequent place of rendesvouz.

Deja Vu Revisions

“Déjà vu Revisions”

The French term “déjà vu” literally means “already seen.”

Cezar Arro reflects on his early memories of art influenced by

antiquity, reconciling his own contemporary visions of reality

and conflating them with images that gained ground in ancient

times, at the same time evading the classical and academic

rigors of execution.

The works have a dream-like quality, not in the lyrical

sense, but of a world imagined out of a dark Gothic

imagination. For Arro, the human body in all its despairing or

exalted state, in gestures contorted by suffering, or stilled by

fear and anxiety, will always be the vessel of emotion that

cannot be equalled by the stone bodies lining up the European

cathedrals whence Gothic art first emerged in the medieval

age.

With a restless imagination prodding the artist, Arro

advances his own work which has earned him a measure of

recognition – the emergence of faces of famous celebrities in

pop culture buried under a dense tapestry of abstract gestural

forms. His revisionist works by his idol, Picasso, are by turns an

act of appropriation and a “re-visioning” of masterpieces which

he transforms into his own interpretation, itself a process of

absorption of the spirit of the Spanish master.

To be sure, Arro does not de-construct Picasso’s more

famous works, so much as re-creates them, or re-duplcates

them in the manner of a Mike Bidlo, as insinuates his own

artistic existence within the psychic confines of the fame, not to

speak of the fortune, that has engulfed such works as Femme

au Jardin (Woman in the Garden), La Reve (The Dream) and La

Femme Qui Pleure (Weeping Woman). Interestingly, these

works were inspired by Picasso’s serial mistresses, Marie

Therese Walter and Dora Maar. Of course, Picasso’s most

famous mural Guernica, which is regarded as the most

powerful and quintessential condemnation of war, undergoes a

re-working but retaining the dynamic armature of its

composition.

Arro’s revisions of masterpieces are not frontal attacks of

desecration but a tender, mirthful, and un-intimidated homage

to originals whose ultimate personal meaning for each viewer is

only as vivid and as emotional as the individual’s past and

present , a life lived as “déjà vu” – always and already seen.

-CID REYES

Convergence

Othoniel “Otto” Neri presents his solo exhibition titled

“Convergence” at Galerie Anna, opening on May 18, 2017.

A conflict of cultures, between the East and the West,

manifesting itself in the Great Divide, engendering the turmoil

and tension both in the physical geo-political space and the

psychic polarities of colonial consequences, is at the core of

Neri’s recent works. But the seeming irreconcilability provoked

by the direct contact between two opposing forces is mollified

by the positive outlook of the hopeful theme “Convergence.”

Neri views the lessons of the country’s history through the

prism of a nativist’s pop sensibility, drawn with the imprint of

typical Pinoy humor that, for instance, transmogrifies the

legendary Mactan hero Lapu-Lapu into the chefs’ favorite fish.

In “Resistance,” the giant-esque fish proceeds to feast on the

unwelcome Portuguese explorer and island intruder.

In “Disoriented,” the artist’s Pop humor alludes to Andy

Warhol and his Marilyn Monroe, with her perpetually half-

opened luscious mouth and mounds of seductive flesh, even as

the dark-skinned tribes are flummoxed into a state of pent-up

desire.

Another Pop icon, the Mona Lisa in “What Keeps You

Smiling,” depicts the mysterious Florentine lady in the company

of the native indias, in a symbolic hybridity of our country’s

culture, a mixed in-breeding of Oriental and Western influences

that have shaped the character and culture of the race. Indeed,

a large work “The Culprits,” even panders to the Pinoy joke

adverting to the killers of Lapu-Lapu, the chefs as salivating

tribesmen around a boiling cauldron.

Closer to the nerve is “Back Off,” which touches on the

currently simmering geopolitical conflict in the South China

sea, and where the artist chooses to depict the festive and

gaily-colored Dragon Dance as it slowly but surely inches its

way into Philippine territory.

In an irreverent seizing of our unique native sensibility,

referencing history as a Pop granary of images, Othoniel “Otto”

Neri, while not resolving the paradoxes of history, nonetheless

celebrates with his own delicious cauldron of Pinoy

multiculturism.

The show runs until June 2.

Galerie Anna is at the 4/L, The Artwalk, Bldg. A, SM

Megamall, EDSA corner Julia Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City.

For inquiries, call tel nos: 470-2511 and 470-9869. Mobile:

0939-9127932 and 0936-7139212. Website:

www.galerieanna.com.

BREAKTHROUGH

Custodio and Valero at Galerie Anna

Galerie Anna presents a back-to- back show of two

abstractionists, Gary Custodio’s “Connected” (East Wing)

and Valen Valero’s “Breakthrough” (West Wing) on May

4, 2017.

The simultaneous exhibition of artists working in the

same non-representational idiom affords the audience a

view of the fertile resources of both color and form, in

distinctive, signature styles that define each artist’s

power of expression.

Award-winning artist Gary Custodio examines the

nature of light and geometry and the way each connects

and absorbs the other in a oneness of purity and

simplicity, conveying a deeply meditative and mysterious

spirit of art.

His ideas on color veer towards the minimalist vein,

reductive, rather than projective, in its implicit

references to transcendence and immateriality. Custodio

dispenses with complex configurations, preferring

instead the severe geometry and structural discipline of

the grid.

In contrast, Valen Valero generates visual

excitement with the unexpected turn of her new works,

piled with non-traditional mixed-media materials

brimming with the fervor of experimentation. The works

are relief constructions, assemblages projected from the

picture plane with diagrams and directions, signaling

movements that derail the eyes from familiar paths.

An innovative approach comes with Valero’s

irregular shaped canvases, echoed by the protrusions of

wooden armatures nailed around the pictorial edge, a

decisive break from spatial limitations.

Both shows run until May 18.

-CID REYES

CONNECTED

Custodio and Valero at Galerie Anna

Galerie Anna presents a back-to- back show of two

abstractionists, Gary Custodio’s “Connected” (East Wing)

and Valen Valero’s “Breakthrough” (West Wing) on May

4, 2017.

The simultaneous exhibition of artists working in the

same non-representational idiom affords the audience a

view of the fertile resources of both color and form, in

distinctive, signature styles that define each artist’s

power of expression.

Award-winning artist Gary Custodio examines the

nature of light and geometry and the way each connects

and absorbs the other in a oneness of purity and

simplicity, conveying a deeply meditative and mysterious

spirit of art.

His ideas on color veer towards the minimalist vein,

reductive, rather than projective, in its implicit

references to transcendence and immateriality. Custodio

dispenses with complex configurations, preferring

instead the severe geometry and structural discipline of

the grid.

In contrast, Valen Valero generates visual

excitement with the unexpected turn of her new works,

piled with non-traditional mixed-media materials

brimming with the fervor of experimentation. The works

are relief constructions, assemblages projected from the

picture plane with diagrams and directions, signaling

movements that derail the eyes from familiar paths.

An innovative approach comes with Valero’s

irregular shaped canvases, echoed by the protrusions of

wooden armatures nailed around the pictorial edge, a

decisive break from spatial limitations.

Both shows run until May 18.

-CID REYES

INVINCIBLE HUE

“Invincible Hue” at Galerie Anna

 

Known to be a breed of sensitive creatures equipped with sharp instincts, artists are themselves vulnerable to many human frailties and fears, understandable in their being participants in an extremely competitive arena. From experience, artists have learned to adapt certain psychological defenses to protect them from “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

 Galerie Anna presents the show titled“ Invincible Hue,” featuring the works of Mark Nativo, Jeanroll Ejar, Jzy Tilos, Cyril Turao, and Darwin Japet Guevarra.

The various images depicted are journeys into wholeness, as expressed through humor and fantasy, illusion and desire, nostalgia for the past and aspirations for the future, self-indulgence and selfless relationships. But only through the production of Art will artists finally find their real safe moorings in life.

And while it is said that young artists today never had it so good, with an audience and market receptive to art collecting, competition has also become more intense and fierce. But Jeanroll Ejar is undaunted. Indeed, he has listed the attributes essential to succeed in the art scene: positive attitude, enthusiasm, energy, persistence, perseverance. Determination, a sense of belief and confidence in oneself. He believes that every obstacle is merely a stepping-stone towards achieving one’s goal. In fact, while the title of the show refers to a shade of color, hue is a homonym for “You.” And therefore, their show is about being the “Invincible You.” Inspiring and uplifting.

Hailing from the humble of town of Taytay, Rizal, Darwin “Japet”Guevarra is a self-taught artist, inspired by works of the masters as well as those of his peers. His stint as an artist in Dubai was a life-changing experience. Though he had a hard time breaking through Dubai’s competitive art scene, he managed, by dint of his dedication and commitment to his art, to achieve a measure of recognition for himself and for his fellow Filipino artists in the Emirates. Now back in is country, and based now in Laguna, Japet continues to develop his art through other mediums, such as sculpture, photography, and experimentation with scrap and found materials.

Mark Nativo believes that dreaming can bring either pleasant or disturbing recollections. As an artist, who by nature is a visual person, he places great importance to dreaming and letting his imagination run free. Says Nativo: “My art seeks to capture the dear and tender moments, especially when one’s dreams come to an end.” He readies and steels himself by willpower to face the coming harsh realities of life.

Jzy Tilos is an Ilonggo who grew up with his now departed grandfather, Lolo Julian, who was an herbalist, or albularyo,  in the dialect. As such, he has imbibed all the superstitious beliefs pertaining to creatures and various elements of the earth. His work alludes to a kasera, or landlady, the owner of a boarding house. But unknown to her, there is a real owner of the place, an invisible presence, whom the elders of the village call tag-lugar.

Creating a surreal and allegorical image. Cyril Tulao depicts a narrative of courtship and love, but the human figures are symbolic. The woman is transformed as a wooden chess figure, while the man, on his knees, offering his love in the form of a mask. Rich in symbols, the work unreels the themes of time consuming humanity, fidelity and deception, mortality and eternal love.

“Invinsible Hue” forces the young artists to mature beyond their years while serving as an inspiration that they can achieve their dreams.

  • Cid Reyes

(Reference: Artists’ Statements)

 

Fables

“Fables” at Galerie Anna

 

Galerie Anna presents “Fables,” a group exhibition featuring Emman Acacio, Alfred Capiral, Rai Cruz, Camille dela Rosa, Janos Delacruz, and Abe Orobia. The show opens on March 9, 2017.

The works illustrate personally conceived or chosen fables, which are defined as “a short story, typically with animals, as characters, conveying a moral lesson.”

Emman Acasio”s “Si Lolong at ang mga Uhaw na Paru-paro” is a tale of lachryphagy or tear-drinking, whereby butterflies and moths drink the tears of reptiles and animals. The reference is to the large Philippine reptile who died in captivity. Camille dela Rosa visually tells the tale of an orphan eagle adopted by a chicken family. “Resilient Warrior” is Rai Cruz’s preening rooster heavily decked with patterns and textures, a satirical comment on the makeshift ornamentation of common objects. At the core of Janos Delacruz’s “Kulo sa Utak” is a literal bottled-up rage on the edge of explosion, hinting at an imminent tragic end. A lone howling wolf in Alfred Capiral’s “Canis Lupus, Corvus” is an allegory of man attracting the attention of his pack. Abe Orobia’s “The Horse and the Rider” is a tender tale of man’s ancient and abiding relationship with the horse.

Purportedly meant for children, these present-day fables are timely narratives with seething underlying contemporary issues and concerns,

“Fables” runs until March 21.

Galerie Anna is at the 4/L, The Artwalk, Bldg. A, SM Megamall, EDSA corner Julia Vargas Avenue. For inquiries, call tel nos: 4702511 and 4709869. Mobile nos: 0939-9127930 and 0995-9908202.