REVISIONING THE BREAKOUT AFTER DESPONDENCY
December 14, 2021 - January 08, 2022
Fecundity After Adversity
The pandemic—as still a pressing reality in the world—has expectedly prompted artists to explore their own experiences in relation to it. For some, their works are a mirror of what has become the new normal, in which face masks are ubiquitous, the sacrifice of the frontliners is acknowledged, and the general pall of exhaustion looms over cities that have to grind to a screeching halt. For others, their interest lies in essaying their internal emotional, psychological, and spiritual struggles, often times through rich symbolism giving concrete evidence to what is ineffable.
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 world is emerging from the global scourge, ready as it is to embrace the possibility of a kinder future. For him, now is the time to change (“revise”) our outlook given how we have moved upward from the threshold of resistance (“breakout”), from a low-spirited state (“despondency”).
As one of the early pioneers of the style of incorporating flowers onto the heads of his figures— underscored by his hyperrealist figurative style—Cortez is already endowed with the metaphorical gift of bringing into surface the interior experience of man. What have provided solace to many are art and religion, represented in the works by the quintessential Renaissance painting Mona Lisa and a sculpture of the Salvador Mundi, respectively. Swaddled with the thick, astonishing blooms of roses, the figures evoke growth, flourishing, and even transformation, as suggested by butterfly wings. A sense of readiness (or “openness” as one title provides) for a post-pandemic world imbues the works—a longing for things turning around.
This optimism resides in the work, “Victory,” which presents a figure breaking out from a frame, his mouth open in a clarifying scream. A self-portrait, the painting is all about exhilaration, freedom, and upward trend, which is manifested by the arrow as seen in charts and infographics. In the lower right corner of the painting is a request conveying vulnerability: “Please Do Not Touch the Heartwork.” It is the artist’s way of saying that all meaningful change transpires from within and can only blossom in its own accord, in its own good time.
-Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
Jayson Cortez b. 1986 is a post war & contemporary painter in the Philippines. He holds a Degree in Fine Arts with a major in Advertising from the Bulacan State University. His works have been highly recognized not only in the country's art industry but also in Singapore and London.
Cortez has been a finalist in major competitions in Manila such as Shell Student Art Contemporary (2009), Metrobank Art Competition (2010) and Tanaw Banko Sentral Art Competition (2011). He has also been awarded with the Gintong Kabataan Award in 2015 and Jurors choice, Luzon Art Award of Philip Moris Phillipine Art Award.
His work is a combination of realism and fantasy. This medium gives him freedom to express himself and explore facets of reality. For the upcoming exhibit, Cortez’ Inspiration revolves around the ongoing pandemic, depression, and the psychological effects of what is happening around the world.
He expects his viewers to feel inspired and to think positively despite what is happening around them.