DON BRYAN BUNAG & MCCOY LAZARUZ
March 12,2022 - April 02,2022
In Recent Works, Don Bryan Bunag and McCoy Lazaruz present their latest preoccupations enacted through the visual language that they have cultivated through the years. The exhibition, rather than highlighting a collaboration, showcases two distinct directions, with the possible connections between their works generated through proximity. While space may be a crucial factor in making those associative leaps, another (though invisible) would be the shared context between these Bulacan-based artists, who encapsulate feelings and ideas through a pared-down aesthetic and economy of means.
For Bunag, interior states of being may be expressed through the genre of landscape, modulated to underscore emotions anchored to space, memory, and nostalgia. Open seas, vast fields, rolling terrains—these are the wind-swept territories of soul in which the artist stakes out various interventions to mark human presence, sewn onto the canvas and, in one painting, made to cascade onto the frame. These craft-based applications assume rigid lines, geometric shapes, and taut patterns that assert that even nature may be personalized, becoming the staging ground for contemplations both artistic and otherwise.
Lazaruz, on the other hand, creates invented portraits that look like characters in a story about to make a turn for the worse. Using oil and graphite, the artist renders the scenes of the paintings like Japanese woodblock prints, with the solidly colored backgrounds and sharply illustrated figures. An escalating sense of panic imbues the atmosphere, as if something is about to emerge and disrupt the quiet surface of the works. Nothing offers concrete clues (a dragon tattoo on a dismembered lower half of a body, a woman with her child wading chest-deep in the waves) as to the predicaments of the figures and yet everything rings with a sinister tone of premonition.
Now sharing the same space of the gallery, the works of Bunag and Lazaruz prove that effects in painting may be achieved through the powerful singularity of an image. Opening a portal, the visual narrative of the works continues and unspools in the viewer’s mind, triggering scenarios, evoking emotions. Such an approach is a welcome addition to the art scene that has the penchant for the layered, the cluttered, the deliberately complex. By drawing from intimate and fictive histories, the artists give way for the unsaid to unfold and inhabit the paintings, such as the grandeur of a meteorological phenomenon in Bunag’s works or the eerie resonance of Lazaruz’s figuration.
-Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
Don Bryan Bunag (b. 1993) is a Filipino artist hailing from Bulakan, Bulacan. He studied Visual Communication at Bulacan State University. He is known for using monochromatic colors that emphasize neutrality and he firmly believes that medium, material, and process can act as a strong foundation of information in communicating and in amplifying a message. He consistently tries tread between the traditional and unconventional method of executing his thoughts.
Bunag was selected as the Grand Prize winner of the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE) in the water-based category in 2015. He was a finalist at the following competitions and awards: Don Papa Rum National Painting Competition (2019); Art Renewal Center ARC Awards in New Jersey (2019, 2018); Special citation Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (2014); Vision Petron National Students Art Competition (2012 & 2013) and the Gintong Kabataan Awards for Visual Arts (2013).
McCOy Lazaruz (b.1993) is a young Filipino visual artist based in Bulacan. He studied Visual Communication at Bulacan State University (2014). In 2021, he underwent residency with Eskinita Art Farm Mentorship Program with artists Renato Habulan and Alfredo Esquillo (Tuklas 2021).
Lazaruz has been a part of numerous group shows in notable galleries around the Philippines. He is known for using varying shades of blue and black that creates an eerie feeling for his viewer and he continues to explore and experiment in different ways to convey intense elements and subjects in his canvas.