Paul David Magisa
Empty Talks| March
Jerahmeel Alvarez & Roy Rosatase
In this exhibition, both artists effectively communicate their take on the human tendency to tell stories and the inherent power of language to destroy, restrict and, dispirit. By dauntlessly drawing from unpleasant family histories and unappealing memories, they convey personal truths in the hopes of challenging status quo in the way people relate with others. In the end, the artists have only thing to say - that there is no point to Empty Talks.
Forms of the Formless| June
Dexter Sy contemplates on this paradox of the formless being manifested in forms in his latest gathering of works, weaving his own spirituality and offering his creative take on some of its cherished doctrines and jewels of wisdom. And he does so in a highly sumptuous visual treat for which his art has been known for: minute and intricate details, ornately drawn patterns and textures, and striking fusion of imagery and symbolisms drawn from a vast array of sources. This project is also invested in material exploration as he experiments with combining mixed media, carpets, and canvases.
Known for his unique visual language that combines abstract elements with collage materials and sometimes intervened with the strokes of a paint-loaded brush or palette knife, Max Balatbat in Tahanan, a solo exhibition organized by Art Cube for the Dragon Gallery of Yuchengco Museum, explores the fraught symbolism of home.
For Balatbat, home meant—and still is—his house in Caloocan City, approximate to the whorehouses in Avenida Street that had been the enduring subject matter of his work. It is the fixity of the location of home that Balatbat wished to question and interrogate, leading him to live and set up a makeshift studio in Zambales. Here, the artist negotiated on how home could be brought to a remote, unfamiliar space.
Gray Locutions| October
In Gray Locutions, the director is still at work, telling us stories, meticulously filling out the white spaces with the black and the gray. I look at my father’s collection and what I see are not arbitrary images of children posing or at play. What I see is a storyteller at work, viewing children not just as children, and only filling the blank spaces with that which must be pondered on; that how we deal with each other is neither just black or white.
Bent, folded, stowed away—or, more accurately, intentionally covering their faces, not wanting to be visible, resisting revelation—these are the men and women in the latest works of Lui Manaig who hide in the closet. The closet is, of course, already part of our vocabulary, which refers to the metaphorical space in which people bury their sexual identities as they try to fit into heteronormative roles. In our language, we call them “kloseta”—a conflation of the space and the self, one and indivisible.
Pre/ Post Human| November
Pre/Post Human is a creative take on the possibilities before and after the presence of humans in relation to the natural environment. It plays around on scenarios if history reverts back to eras before human domination, and at the same time predicts a future where humans cease to exist. It is an assessment of where civilization has brought humanity—a theme suggested by formations reminiscent of monuments such as pyramids, walls, and fortifications among the urban cape elements—and a cautionary reminder against the possible catastrophe resulting from progress left unchecked. The stillness, void, and emptiness created by human absence and the recurring muted palette bring to mind Zen aesthetics, a fitting mood evoked in reflecting on the link between humankind and the forces of nature.
In his one-man show, Maong, Hersley Casero explores the use of denim as an artistic medium. Many of the material’s characteristics, such as its modern color and its renowned resilience, are symbolic of Westernization and globalization, the so-called “denimization” of the world. Many argue that a side effect of this phenomenon is that core values and authentic human experiences are rapidly being taken over by superficiality, surface ideals and judgement of others, and the pursuit of instant gratification, in cultures and societies across the globe.
In Tinik, Michael Villagante’s solo exhibit, thorns constitute a backdrop, a nest, a symbol. They represent what we carry around, take rest in, endure as mortal beings. Amid the beauty of the natural world—and yes, even the civilization that offers us countless conveniences—thorns are omnipresent; nothing can protect us from them. The thorns of illness, pain, and death attend to us like our shadows. We may, once in a while, forget about them and in fact be able to live with them, but nothing will dull their sharpness. Whatever we are doing, they are ready to reveal their multiplicity of fangs.
02 Now| December
Mark Andy Garcia & Lynyrd Paras
02NOW, aside from highlighting the contact points between their works and teasing out the creative threads that they have been pursuing through their latest works, illustrates the oftentimes untold stories of artists in their mutual support, of how these highly relational connections can establish the bedrock for an enduring commitment in the arts. Most of the time, it is a solemn, solitary pursuit, but kinships, such as what Mark Andy Garcia and Lynyrd Paras have made manifest in this show, make it less lonely and less crushing, encouraging one to paint from day to day until those days become months, years, decades—a lifetime.