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When the Smoke Clears and the Dust Settles
Arturo Sanchez Jr.
June 3 - 24, 2023
Do we have an all-clear?
When the Smoke Clears and the Dust Settles is a testament to how Art Sanchez expresses profundity in his
exploration of identity, spirituality, and the interplay between calm and chaos. With his new pieces, most
notably arrays of shadow boxes filled with spliced three-dimensional components seemingly floating in the
void, the artist invites viewers into the depths of his being, all the while playing on the drama of light and dark.
Recreating Hysteria 1 and 2 brings us familiarity in their cacophonic landscapes. Acrylic and collage in clear cast resin bridge Sanchez’ past and most recent works, reminding us of the horrors, confusion, and uncertainties of recent world health crises and events. Two differing views of chaos, one of them enveloped with thick and acrid ash, narrate the devastating horror and destruction brought about by warmongering. In Times of Grief, We Call On The Saints 1-4 is a series of shadow boxes housing saint heads in various states of brokenness, fragments of holy visages falling apart as we murmur prayerful supplications. Reinforced fiber glass, steel rods, and industrial paint are encased in wooden boxes under glass, capturing what is classically considered ideal beauty and sanctity and the subject of our most heartfelt petitions.
Taking up a huge part of the exhibition in presence and significance, however, is Man of the Hour, with a
crucified Jesus set within a shadow box 5 by 4 feet, also glass-covered. The adventure of casting the Christ
figure alone took years of the artist’s life, which he considers part and parcel of artmaking combined with a
long-term and continuous form of prayer. Faith takes center stage along with visible manifestations of fragility, the figure crumbling through the ages but still holding its shape as a testament to resilience and fortitude. While meditating on this piece, however, we are drawn to yet another series, this time of the artist’s family in. Live casts of their faces, painstakingly captured in detail, speak volumes about mortality and how time affects age and growth. Speaking of memento mori, none of them are as visually striking as those formed by the artist in When the Smoke Clears and the Dust Settles. Magnified, treated with subtle tones of varying darkness, and fragments that swirl and spread out in their own dynamic dances, the pieces signify the artist making peace with the circle of life, ready to start all over again.
As the palpable energy in Sanchez’ pieces guides us through the gallery, an extraordinary journey through an astute artistic mind unfolds before our very eyes. This landmark exhibition marks Sanchez's 20th solo show and presents an innovative fusion of pieces. Each shadow box creates a captive art object while heightening its mystique and amplifying its symbolic significance. By comparing the casts of loved ones with those of saints, Sanchez blurs the boundaries between the sacred and the secular, challenging our perceptions of spirituality and our connections to the divine.
His meticulously crafted assemblages resulted in resin-encased collages depicting moments of personal significance, capturing fleeting memories and fragments of the artist's life. They inspire introspection, ignite curiosity, and ignite a spark of creativity. Intimate glimpses of the artist, his loved ones, and iconic saints are powered fully not only by the consistency that Sanchez plays with materials and creative impulse but also clearly put on display a new direction the artist sees himself in now that things are slowly gaining normalcy once again.
Arturo Sanchez Jr.
Born in Caloocan City, Arturo T. Sanchez, Jr. is a contemporary Filipino artist currently living and practicing in Angono, Rizal. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree, he delved full-time into art, having joined art competitions as a student and winning several. He was a MADE (Metrobank Art and Design Excellence) semifinalist in the years 2000 and 2005-2008 and won the Grand Prize at the Art Petron oil/acrylic painting category in 2006. After being a Luzon Art Awards Finalist for the Philippine Art Awards in 2009, 2011, and 2013, he received an Award of Merit in 2012 and the Grand Prize in 2014. Due to his achievements, he was awarded the Sangguniang Bayan Award 2015 for excellence in art by the Municipality of Angono, Philippines.
Sanchez has participated in numerous group exhibitions at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Jorge B. Vargas Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, and Art Fair Philippines, as well as galleries around Asia and Europe. He has mounted solo exhibitions featuring his paintings, mirror-integrated mixed media pieces, acrylic collages on resin, and installations in Blanc Gallery, Provenance Gallery, Finale Art File, Art Cube Philippines, and West Gallery in Manila; Nineveh Art Space in Laguna; BenCab Museum in Baguio; Equator Art Projects; and Taksu Gallery in Singapore. He is currently a member of the Angono Artists Association and the Neo-Angono Artist Collective. When the Smoke Clears and the Dust Settles is his 20th solo exhibition.
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