Hothouse. Gwangju Biennale 2018. Philippine Contemporary Art Network Pavilion.
The painting studio is an intimate space where ideas are cultivated and gestures are performed. Like a hothouse, it is a site for self-cultivation. It exists within a larger world, yet must thread its own axis which swirls around the borders of reality and imagination. Its direction is orbicular, constantly creating curiosities, doubts and beliefs.
To prod painting’s Other (unknown sphere), I explore the reconsideration of the brushstroke as a performative signature of the mind’s interiority and the individual aesthetic gesture of the body’s phenomenological sensitivity to all that are present in the painting studio. Thus, I transport the painterly swaths from the painting studio to computer digital imaging then to a printing press/ glass fabrication shop which result to the creation of a new team of hybrid sculptures with subsequent corporeality.
These sculptures then perform as actor-protagonists in a phantasmagoria of succession of televisual images in a digital video titled “Televisual Painterly Gestures”. They are released to the outside world, as a video camera captures these cross-fertilized and hybridised, illuminated sculptures traversing terrains of the Big Sur in California, New York’s Long Island, The Philippines' Baler, Tagaytay and Manila Bay and Gwangju’s Mudeungsan Mountain in South Korea. In their abstract play of illumination, color, image and sound, the televisual hybridised forms challenge the language of description and the language of television while exploring abstraction beyond the merely non-representational and formal.
In this body of work, I attempt to liquefy the autonomy of the the unique painterly swath and to break down the pliable borders between television, abstract painting and sculpture. I use glass as an essential material that adjoins the spheres of the televisual with the painterly and the sculptural with the pictorial. Glass is the border that holds together potentially obstinate structures of disparate mediums of artmaking. It creates a sturdy frame that consolidates ungovernable electronic moving images and acts as a sculptural piece on its own.
The Pendulum Swing. The Drawing Room Philippines. October 2016. Solo Show
An interior dialogue/ sub-linguistic hollering float in the subconscious like entoptic images of the eye. Hand’s position and angle, pulse, grip, arm movement, the body’s stance, painting materials, condition of light in the studio and the size of the painting in relation to the size and shape of the studio were all considered before a paint swipe was executed.
Traversing through a mix of past painting styles (hard-edge abstraction, color field painting, post-painterly abstraction and neo-formalism), my ahistorical paintings’ color, luminosity, texture, translucence and materiality are examined through an interplay of flat paint surface, thick impasto and hard-edge paint applications.
I Put The Spell On You Because You’re Mine. Vargas Museum. Philippines. October 2015. Solo Show
A moth's eyes have begun spin-wheeling, enamored by the phallic neon.
Tucked away in a wooden crate is an iridescent death mask
that speaks back with a magnetic spell.
Translucent flashes of the dark umber skin of a fisherman sleeping on a boat
shining faintly under a phthalo moon.
How can we forget such soft, gentle mist
when all we really had was a sunny furnace?
“I Put A Spell On You Because You’re Mine” is an exhibition of performative backdrops or bricolage as performance in the forms of reclaimed wood, industrial and construction material, artificial and hand-painted light and people. Through loose and loopy leadership and clunky choreography, the agent acts like a magician in a room creating tricks and spell.
Stage 1: Thematic Structure
1. Four disparate, cryptic meta-narratives are put together and used as thematic structure for the creation of an assembly of sculpture pieces, paintings, drawings, performance work and photographs. The narratives will be translated in a loopy, non-pointed manner in the form of an exhibition.
The narratives are:
- A moth's eyes have begun spinwheeling, enamored by the phallic neon.
- Tucked away in a wooden crate is an iridescent death mask that speaks back with a magnetic spell.
- Translucent flashes of the dark umber skin of a fisherman sleeping on a boat shining faintly under a lustrous moon.
- How can we forget such soft, gentle mist when all we really had was a sunny furnace?
Stage 2: Translation of Narratives
2. Collection of discarded and reclaimed wood from Lubao, Pampanga
3. Wood is altered; idiosyncratic sense of design is infused to it
4. Transporting the altered wood, attaching cut-out oil paintings on canvas or linen (which are created in New York and New England in the United States, carrying with them their own history and legacy of abstract expressionism, transcendentalism, orphism, provisional/ temporal
5. The result is an amorphous assemblage/ bricolage - which when put in the museum setting where there is an existing on-going array of live performances by actors, models, psychotherapist, physical trainer, musicians and poet becomes a performative backdrop or an assemblage as performance
6. Since these disparate assemblages/ bricolage inhabit the same space, new relationships (formal, material, conceptual and perceptual) and appearance of context and intentionality-effect emerge. Their axes cross each other, producing new meaning and new misunderstanding.
7. Performances merging with the bricolages: Poetry reading; Musicians from the UP College of Music, beauty queen in training with trainer ‘queenmaker”, fashion model in a session with a psychotherapist while someone hand records the conversation; lecturer about fish/ horticulture/ raising tilapia, improv dancers, models in training, etc
8. Photography - to consolidate and record all the objects, people and events, flattening the lines of narratives and layers and opacities of texture, light and color. The photographs are projected onto canvas. Contour lines in the photographs are traced onto painting.
9. Studio Practice
Paintings, objects and people become performative backdrops or an assemblage/ bricolage as performance.
The on-site production of paintings in the space is the final stage of a process of distillation, mutation; collaging of performances, painting’s skin and discarded parts of domestic structure. Photographs taken during the performances are used as templates for painting the figure and utilizing painting tropes (paint’s swirl + drip / the painterly, push and pull, close and wide value range selection of colors) as a set of swatch to provide skin to the figure.
To create an audience who will enter a room with curiosity and discovery. For them to see objects that possess an emotional landscape (which the objects emit)
To create an exhibition as space for myself for compulsive energy – where compulsion is allowed without repercussion or judgment; to act like a magician in a room creating tricks and spell. To choreograph as a leader. Everything and everybody else are in audition.
To represent a variety of styles and impulses, but all use the painted surface as a platform, map, or metaphoric screen on which genres intermingle, morph, and collide
To represent traditional painting, in the sense that each artist engages with painting’s traditions, testing and ultimately reshaping historical strategies like appropriation and bricolage and reframing more metaphysical, high-stakes questions surrounding notions of originality, subjectivity, and spiritual transcendence
To stage painting as a site for ambition: to use a particular space for a particular history to say something relevant about the present. (to specific, using vargas as a space to situate an existing practice in Philippine contemporary painting and how this mode of production exemplifies the engagement of the Filipino painter in the ongoing global dialogue about painting today
To stage painting as a parallel activity in such a way as the bricolage (of objects and people) allows you to think about other stuff (i.e. painting) while doing it. Bricolage becomes a parallel producer to a painting that is beta-like, resonating David Joselit’s proposition that “Painting is beside itself” precisely in “practices in which painting sutures a virtual world of images onto an actual network composed of human actors, allowing neither aspect to eclipse the other”
*****Ab-Ex painters’s interiority of mind reflected on the lines of the song “Tuliro” written by Dominador Gallardo. Performed by Celeste Legaspi ********
Tuliro, tuliro, tuliro
May biglang kumislap sa mata ko
At nagsumayaw ang mga anghel sa aking likuran
Nang sinulyapan miminsan naman
Ewan ko nga ba bakit nag-iba
Puso'y kumaba ng nginitian, kaybilis naman
Mabaliw, kaybilis namang mabulagan ang ganda ng buwan
Kaybilis namang matabunan ng ulap ang daan
Tuliro, tuliro, tuliro
May biglang sumiklop sa dibdib ko
At nagsumigaw bawat himaymay ng aking laman
Nang madampian sa saglit naman
Description of Artwork
Title: “Moth’s Eyes Spinwheeling To The Phallic Neon”
Medium: Oil on linen, oil on canvas and neon light
Attached to next to a neon light on the same linen surface are cut-out oil paintings which are made to appear like moths enamored to the industrial light. Some of the cut-outs are placed on pieces of wood which are attached to the wall of the gallery. The reference for this work is my recollection of moths circling around a lone lamp in the middle of a dark forest at night in Skowhegan, Maine
Title: “The Incidental Gloss and Pattern”
Medium: “carbon fiber, oil on canvas
Size: 44” x 78”
Recreation of a site-specific painting installation at Reserve Ames in Los Angeles
I use reclaimed wood as stretcher and support, thus referencing the dismantling of the hierarchy of armature and support in the Support/ Surface movement of the early 1970s France
Title: A Death Mask Speaks Back
Medium: silver ceramic, oil on canvas
Size: 48” x 60”
Title: Bed, Fish and Moon
Medium: Ink on Fabric, nylon strap on wood panel
Size: 44” x 78”
A fisherman sleeps, dark umber skin, fishnet, school of fish
Medium: backlit film
Size: 24” x 36”
Craftsman House. Reserve Ames. Los Angeles. Solo Show
I create site-specific painting installations that examine painting’s constituent elements: paint (color, luminosity, translucency and texture) and support within a system of deconstruction, recontextualisation and intervention of a ramshackle shed in a backyard of a gracious Craftsman house in Los Angeles. These painting installations are provisional, transitional and temporal, while thriving within a given set of variables of the shed such as the 1:1 ratio of the floor space, cracks and gaps on the floor; humidity at 62 degrees temperature; weathered wood surfaces; delicately scrawled notations on the board; part numbers and maintenance for American cars from yesteryear; 8 feet tall walls; glass window with marking overlooking Los Angeles sunset; bird’s feather; and discarded construction and building materials.
It is the search for an illumination that rests between the space of the interiority of my mind, the materials I use and the physical condition of the space I am in that drive me to paint and to create these installations. This light is elusive and amorphous, always beyond reach. It is an illumination that lives in and between paint, people, objects, situations and nature that I consolidate in my painting installations.
I worked within this set of variables:
imperfect verticality of the planks
1:1 ratio of the floor
cracks and gaps on the floor,
humidity, 62 degrees, 12pm - 2pm
weathered wood surfaces,
delicately scrawled notations on the board
part numbers and maintenance for American cars from yesteryear
8 ft ceiling
glass window with markings, scratches overlooking Los Angeles
disjointed black metal frame
discarded every day and mundane objects
content as a glimpse of something
encounter like a flash
disjunction-addition (De Kooning)
chance combinations of unrelated figures,
questioning the accidents of texture (Ernst)
push and pull (Newman),
search for JMW Turner illumination,
subject and material for deconstruction by cutting some of a painting's parts,
layers overlap and forms collide