Open Trench | January
In his solo exhibition, Open Trench, Geovanni Abing amplifies how this notion of warfare has permeated our day-to-day lives, from events of great importance to affairs of minimal consequence so long as opposing forces meet and collide. Using a striking visual imagery that is a remix of a variety of elements—art history, video games, military hardware—Abing exposes conflicts of varying scale, “even personal conflicts and struggles.” What he presents are his collaged visions of “the aftermath of conflicts,” redolent with images of ruin, collapse, and devastation.
God Bless Our Home | January
In his body of work, Ronald “Dondon” Jeresano has been positioning the familiar shanties of the city within the privileged spaces of art and civic institutions as a way to highlight, converse about, and critique their contradictions. This unnerving juxtaposition (“unnerving” because images of poverty so casually co-exist in such hallowed spaces) is once again the governing theme in his latest solo exhibition, God Bless Our Home.
Dust | January
2020 saw me learning that charcoal on paper is fragile (more so than graphite). It just sits there loosely, not really binding to the paper. It literally can be swept by the wind. The year also saw how fragile our lives are, as well as the things we often hold on to. A lot of the things we were used to in our lives - some things and places - literally gathered dust because of the pandemic.
Disparatis | February
In his solo exhibition, Disparitis, Nick Navarro turns these superstitions on their heads, not to contradict them but to extend their import and tease out other possible associations and meanings. For instance, in the work, “Sa ating pagkabusog ay di na muli tayo makukuntento,” the artist confronts the superstition that warns of sleeping while hungry (or else the soul will escape the body to seek a place where food is abundant and from where it may not be able to return) by asking what if the hunger is for knowledge. Once this hunger is partly assuaged, will the soul have the desire to still return, having the full awareness that knowledge is limitless?
Square Meters | February
Square Meters is Joven’s way of looking back into his former home and how it has shaped him to become the person—and inevitably, the artist—that he is. His observations about the life in the slums allow the viewer to have a glimpse of the desires and dreams of those society seems to have forgotten, as they keep body and soul together under a roof that leaks and reveals a portion of a sky.
Alaala | April
Christian Culangan | Kim Gaceja
Alaala approaches cloth as a the signified and as a signifier. They apply the question of tactile memory, in reverence to who the objects belong to, personal ideography and its significance to the present. Presenting a purview of material connection to hopeful though uncertain futures.
Ayaw Ko Na Maging Tao | May
In this show, Trinidad directs his works toward the release in the reality of an individual due to the stressors and anxious events surrounding them, this is about regaining sanity and rest. Without hesitation, Trinidad focuses on what he decides to create, he uses art as his expression to liberate his deep thoughts. As his art changes on a constant, he finds solace in the fact that his works are apart from each other, where emotions are observed in each piece he lets out. Different concepts and creative thinking always have to be exerted to produce most of his output.
86,400 | July
In this solo exhibit, 86,400, arguably his most personal yet, Paul John Cabanalan contemplates the nature of time and how one chooses to live it. The context of the works is the pandemic which, for boon or bane, has set the world on pause and given people a surplus of time to do what they have been putting off, concentrate on the things that matter, and reconnect with the nourishing elements of life.
An Imaginary View from | September
a Synthetic Window
Jep Dizon’s “An Imaginary View from a Synthetic Window,” tells the story of how humans are manipulated by modern reality, to the point that they have forsaken the world that is out there. People, immobilized by the instant life full of glitz and glamour, stay still as time passes them by. And even when the shroud of technology is lifted, only 4 walls and a false window to the outside world are there to welcome each and every one of mankind. Gone are the days of appreciating and savoring moments in life beyond, a life that is filled with lights from above and waves from below.
Noon | February
In his solo exhibition, Noon, Azor Pazcoguin proposes that art may fill in the gaps as they provide the necessary function of documentation. In a suite of still lifes and portraits, the artist injects new life to obsolete objects as well as celebrities who have achieved iconic status. Using a monochromatic palette to underscore how these figures are inextricably linked to the past, Pazcoguin brings them back to the scrutiny of contemporary attention, each depicted individually on the canvas, surrounded by gray space, like some kind of icon or holy object.
Home Invaders | April
In the larger of scheme of things, the works of Villarruz align to the growing consciousness of taking care of the planet, as our survival rests upon the continued existence of the rest of creation, not least of which are the plants. “As we sleep, they are still there giving off fresh air for us to breathe,” he says. The word “intruder” in the title is, of course, meant ironically and tenderly: “an intruder we definitely love and completes our comfort zone—the place we call ‘home.’”
For the artist, Banwa is microcosm of what’s happening in the Philippines. The majority of the working class are involved in agriculture and fishing, though they are underrepresented in art, the media, and in matters of government and policy. What the artist hopes to achieve is to shine a light on people like those he knew and interacted with from day to day in his island life, fully aware of their dreams, hopes, and desires. “What I also want to convey,” says the artist in the vernacular, “is that life by the sea is never easy and that there are still many stories behind it that most of us still don’t know,” Madeja vows to tell these stories, each exhibit like a chapter in a book, beginning with Banwa.
Ugmad | July
There is an element of uncertainty in the dreamland that Michael Delmo has conjured for us in his fourth solo exhibition, Ugmad. Ugmad, a word shared by Cebuano and Hiligaynon alike, often pertains to the verb “to cultivate” as in “to foster growth”, “to raise”, “to work the soil”, or “to domesticate.” It can also stretch itself to mean “to prepare”, “to tame”, “to civilize”, “to accommodate” or “to refine”. All these cognate meanings apply to the precarious state that is common to all the works that comprise the exhibition.
Connecting and Disconnecting | September
Intrigued by the real essence of humanism, transhumanism, and life in general, Ciane Xavier gets to the bottom of her own life experiences and deeply personal emotions to explore and share her perception of human truths.
As we live in a world where there are limitations and boundaries, we see in her “Carrying the Weight” and “Dragging Away” sculptures a story that tells the fragility and vulnerability of our being. That as humans, we have flaws and imperfections that lead us to self-discovery.
Salt | March
In his solo exhibition, Salt, Hersley Casero traces the contours of the pandemic life not through the usual images associated with it, such as masks and shields, but in a more oblique, metaphorical way. The artist’s symbol of choice is salt: the ubiquitous element present in our bodies as mortal beings and the larger bodies of the world’s oceans; in the food we consume and share as well as in the hulking landscapes our eyes devour in a moment of wonder.
Re.Set | April
Reset shows the beauty of the quagmire as his bareness exudes enveloping random eeriness to the viewer in a claustrophobic twist as his story progresses. If Origins focused on the evolving cycles of life, in Take Over, the grim scenario is Nature turned against humans, in fact, it overtook the race by its own consumption leading to our eventual perish. Origins was at the beginning of creation where the plot is reversed in Take Over as people are dissolved and vegetation lush are all that were left. This bleak oversight preoccupies Cervantes’ brushstrokes in Reset as the lopsided world domination in at hand. Humanity is being tipped off the scale.
Reinforced | May
In his solo exhibition, Reinforced, Noel M. Elicaña presents what has become his recognizable visual language (a combination of gestural abstraction, symbolism, and dreamlike imagery, which the artist calls “social-surrealism”) in order to capture the inner truth and resolve of an individual as he faces life’s myriad challenges. Though it is easy to read his paintings within the context of the pandemic, Elicaña delves into the more enduring themes of spirituality “reinforced,” to use the title, by the agency of “family, experience, struggle, and faith.”
The World That Was | July
In his exhibitions, John Paul Antido has been consistently portraying images of Filipiniana, with attention to turn-of-the-century fashions and styles, in vivid colors and highly-defined outlines, evoking nostalgia for the old ways of life. In his solo exhibition, The World That Was, the artist manifests his characteristic figuration, this time further illuminating how the past may serve as a beacon to cast light upon the travails of the present and the uncertainty of the future.
Arbitrary Grounds | November
Neil Atienza, David Ryan Viray, Geremy Samala August Lyle Espino, Mikko Baladjay, Art Tevera
The show made up of friends who came together to show their arbitrary works of art coming from transferring energies to the ground, the canvas, and the space that
Together, these young artists are ready to take over the art world as they demonstrate larger-than-life artworks that not only show colors, creativity, and imagination but depth.
Realize, Real Eyes, Real Lies | March
Reynold Dela Cruz
Award-winning visual artist Reynold Dela Cruz paints every single day. No day-offs or holidays. An old-timer in the art scene-- a trained worker--who painstakingly strives on a daily wage he foregoes to see a muse for inspiration to create. Like clockwork, he shows up at his studio upstairs from his home as soon as he wakes up. And while taking his morning coffee, he is already mixing his paints. This work ethic adheres regardless if ever he will have an upcoming show or not.
Limang Daang Taon | May
In this exhibition, Oclos composes his works of events, stories, and sorrows five hundred years since the arrival, conquest, and distribution of Christianity in the Philippines, which made the country as it is today. Inspired by surviving the situations of today made painting his way of prayer and life.
Repaso | June
Marking 500 years of Philippine Christianity, the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (better known as the CBCP) selected the theme and slogan “Gifted to give”. The year’s celebrations drew the attention of Emmanuel Garibay, a Filipino social realist and scholar of theology who maintains a critical eye on how religion is organized in the Philippine context. Garibay’s works in this latest exhibition--large scale canvases, portraits on wood and paper--highlight not only how the year’s celebrations hide the extractive and violent colonization that made Christianity possible, but how the institutions that sustain Christianity also miss its underlying messages towards creating a more just and equal society.
SoLACE | September
To refresh and to relax— that is Isko Andrade’s goal as he produced his “SoLace” masterpieces. While he is known for creating dark and deep artworks as previously seen in “Smoldering Refuge” and “Pamilya”, Andrade decided to take on another technique by using whites and light hues of blue and red on this exhibit.
SEEDS | November
In this new collection of works by LJ Ablola Sy, she pays homage to these individuals by capturing them in their typical day at work. The images portray their daily grind with a semblance of normalcy, highlighting the uninterrupted performance of their duties despite the ongoing challenges. We see them roaming the streets and manning their usual workplaces, each scene animated by the artist’s characteristic juxtaposition of discrete colors in free forms, resembling stylized drips of paint arranged to produce a map-like appearance.
Eastern Fables | November
In the country, only a handful of artists delve into such territory. Tiffany Lafuente, in show after show, proves that she’s one of the most elegant and sharpest among them, chronicling the absurdities of life, particularly those present in institutions—religion, the art world, polite society—on which we blindly invest our belief. For her exhibition, Eastern Fables, Lafuente this time explores the comedy of manners in a microcosm of Chinese society, in which superstition dictates the rituals and habits of people and inanimate objects are perceived to be endowed with auspicious, magical powers.
Legends | November
In these present-day artistic times, it is with no doubt that Pongbayog is one of the sought-after contemporary artists in the country. Pongbayog plays with the balance of lights, shadows, and angles-- creating highly detailed and monochromatic paintings. Much inspired and as an artist himself, Pongbayog attempts to pay tribute to legendary personalities in the art industry by bravely highlighting them in these hyper-realistic works for his 5th solo exhibit.
Tranquility | December
Mark Lester Espina
In his solo exhibition, Tranquility, Mark Lester Espina envisions how this zone of quiet may be manifested by paintings that act as windows into a realm whose optical modulations are set on low. Looking at these works, the viewer engages with spare but meaningful elements, discerning shapes, and patterns with how the pigment has been applied onto the canvas. In the absence of an illustrative outline, these forms look mysterious, fleeting, and elusive, like thoughts about to vanish.
Homebound | December
Julius Claveria Redillas is Filipino artist who studied painting at Far Eastern University in Manila and has exhibited his works in various galleries in the country and abroad. Redillas is known for phantasmagorical themes and embellished subjects, this also includes distorting various images. Most of his works are portraits of individuals which he copies from photographs of people he sees online or from a book. His work may appear faceless but viewers can see from the silhouette the glimpse of the identity of the individual in his piece. Surprisingly, his viewers are able to identify the personas remarkably.
Revisioning The Breakout | December
For Jayson Cortez, now that we are nearing the second year of the lockdown and things are showing signs of promising improvement, his attitude is one of expectant hope, exemplified in his solo exhibition, Revisioning the Breakout after Despondency. The artist uses the language of economics to highlight how the world is emerging from the global scourge, ready as it is to embrace the possibility of a kinder future.
Behind The Curtain | December
Demi Padua with his latest solo exhibition revisits classicism and infuses it with his pop-symbolist works. Not the customary pastiche works and reiterations; he contextualized the works of the Renaissance and Baroque masters, his narrative is inspired by his realizations and reflections from his late father: man’s mission on earth and the preciousness of life and faith in the divine.