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17 OCTOBER 2020




OCTOBER 17 2020

Entering the Threshold



Signaling their entrance into the art world, Door 305 Artist Collective presents their first group exhibition, Now Open. A bold declaration of arrival, the show gathers the works from ten members of the collective, with each grappling the anxious situation of the times in which a pandemic—still raging in different parts of the world, not least of which in ours—has radically shaped the texture of everyday life. These artists are Revelie Bueno, Roncal Cayas, Cedrick Dela Paz, Rhoss John Gadiana, Mark Laza, Christian Jame Maglente, Arnel Natividad, Ricky Natividad, Jolo Senense, and Macj Turla.


All alumni of Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST), which has emerged as a hotspot of artistic talent in recent years, the artists showcase a penchant for figuration that verges into the symbolic, capturing the sense of isolation, helplessness, and vulnerability that most people feel as they continue to live their lives despite the invisible but no less insidious threat of the novel coronavirus. From the Social Realist foray (such as the works of Laza, Senense, and Cayas) to a more metaphorical introspection (which include the works of Bueno and both Arnel and Ricky Natividad), the range of the works presents a comprehensive take in which artists, so long attuned to the rhythms of social distancing, confront the challenges of the so-called “new normal.”


The idea of death, which is part and parcel of the reality we have to reckon with as the pandemic casts its shadow on the planet, is evident in the works of Gadiana, Maglente, and Turla. Rendered as a deceased sparrow, a skeleton swaddled in flowers, or a dark figure forcing open an eye of a figure which may be a portrait of the artist, death (or, at the very least, the insinuation of mortality) becomes all of sudden a present and undeniable force, bleeding into and informing present-day iconography. Brought about by the quarantines and lockdowns that seem to be never-ending, the tedium of waiting, on the other hand, is summarized by the work of Dela Paz.


Evidently, these artists come from different places thematically, stylistically, and artistically. They are bound, however, of a common context, which is their college room that has 305 as door number (hence, the name of the collective), where they took a talent test to prove their mettle in painting. Aside from the physical space, what ties them together is the shared experience of embarking on a journey as they made their way into the scene—attending workshops, joining contests, and submitting their portfolios to different galleries. That these involved blood, sweat, and tears goes without saying. Now Open is proof that hard work, coupled with creativity and vision, does bear fruits.


Door 305 Artist Collective stakes its claim in the art world that has seen a rise in the number of practitioners joining forces together. These groups, if they are to become successful, are not just support systems but incubators of ideas, proposing fresh and alternative viewpoints in how people experience visual arts. As Now Open marks the collective’s initial venture, it would be interesting how this group of artists will forge their own path into the future. Nonetheless, the collective is now open, inviting the viewers to discover what they have to offer.


-Carlomar Arcangel Daoana

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