Sa kanyang eksibisyong, Ang Polonpolon mula sa Limurya, naipapakita ni William Gaudinez ang kahalagahan ng panunumbalik sa mga sinaunang simbolo upang bigyan ng dalumat at bagong konteksto ang mga saloobin ukol sa kinagisnan at paroroonan. Sa kanyang mga mumunti-munting retablo at iskultura, isinasakatuparan ni Gaudinez ang paniniwala ng mga sekta sa Bundok Banahaw na ang kapuluan ng Pilipinas ay galing sa kontinente ng Lemuria na sinasabing tigib sa misteryo at modernong sibilisasyon bago ito gumuho sa karagatang Pasipiko o Indiano.
In the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, “anemoia” is described as “nostalgia for a time you’ve never known.” As a collection of works in a gallery, Anemoia is an exhibition that allows the viewer to enter a space of recollection, recalling places he has never seen and a time in which he has never lived.
Upon entering the exhibition space, the first work to greet the viewer is a sculpture made of lace tied into a condensed bundle of knots. It is placed directly in front of the gallery entrance, approximately at the middle of the gallery area as if saying that this is the focal point of the entire exhibition, and it just as well might be since this work represents the center or core, an area of high density and activity where everything converges like a symbolic hub. One might even assume that this is the most important piece in this exhibition; on the contrary, as the artist emphasized in its title, this work is Beside the Point.
Artistic talent cannot exist in a vacuum. The artist working in his cell, waiting for inspiration to strike and, when it does, paint his grandiose vision in a flurry of brushstrokes is a tired trope in art history. Even the most hermetic of artists (Van Gogh comes to mind) had some support. More so in this contemporary moment in which the creative climate encourages collaboration, openness, and critique. To be an artist today is to be receptive and responsive to ideas, to be implicated in a web of relations which, one hopes, will deeply inform, energize, and improve his practice in more ways than one.
What are the coordinates to where you are? What is the grid your city makes? In your vault of sky, which shapes do your stars constellate to form? Do you need instruments? Maps, radars, the intelligent homing ability of migratory birds? Do you need instructions, arrows, codes written haphazardly on a piece of paper that you might place mindlessly somewhere and never look at again? I have yet to detect you like a heat-seeking missile. Under the tumble of waves, you are virtually undetectable, except when you rise up to take a gulp of air. You are a submarine, or a small island that vanishes with the rising of the tides. Sometimes you take on a disguise, and our bodies may have brushed in a crowd unknowingly, triggering electricity. Your smell, however, is something I can recognize all the way from the tip of the country where I have a view of the ocean which is eternally blue and hurts the eyes. We pulse like separate lighthouses in the dark. At night, I open myself like a well-thumbed book. I smile at the mirror. I cure my loneliness by listening to the water drumming on the sink. Do you ever get lonely, too? Hurry. Beneath our feet are fault lines, rivers of fire. Dear traveler, dear viewer, meet me at _________________.
Sculpture—as craft, tradition, and artistic medium—can be traced back to our precolonial past, usually expressed as evocations of our homegrown gods. Now considered as ethnographic and archeological finds, these sculptures nonetheless still assert their presence, still keeping guard over one’s house in certain cultures or being prayed to for a hope of a better weather or harvest. Their contemporary translations as Catholic icons do not diminish their power. The various festivals devoted to Jesus Christ, Mother Mary, and a motley crew of saints testify to this. Even the rope that teeters to the platform where the Black Nazarene is mounted is perceived to have healing properties, the ability to shift the tides of fate and fortune.
n Handumanay (a word from the Visayas that closely means “recollection”; note, too, of the last four letters, “anay,” that trail the word), Manes examines the erosion of memory as well as those that hold a record of it—photographs, an identification card, and a bill which, to some extent, preserves a kind of national identity. Once translated to his chosen medium, both subject and keepsake, the depicted and the record, share the same fate: their vulnerability is made evident. We as viewers look at his paintings as salvaged (denoting both “saved” as well as the vernacular connotation of “destroyed”) documents. Without these remnants, their destruction is complete.
In this three-man show, Daloy, Mel Cabriana, Thomas Daquioag, and Archie Ruga employ the imagery of water and the ideas related to it: the flow of time and the essence of life. In psychoanalysis, bodies of water evoke the subconscious, and from this place do the three artists draw their imagery: a girl submerged in water, a superhero strumming a guitar against a flooded world, a full-grown figure inside a cocoon caressed by rain. With great care and insight, the images are made to bear their comment upon the world at large.
One requires a certain level of transparency to the ground in order to create an “honest” image. Perhaps sheer to a particular degree of conciousness from the inner self to the paper. As paper reveals it’s physical properties, the artist harnesses these qualities and reacts towards the ground. The exploration of possibilities in imageries and forms that brings paper back to its origin which is nature. The ways in which the artists responded to paper exposes the fragility and potential use of it.
Metal has been the routine medium in sculpture, assemblage, and in some forms of installation art, but in his first-one-man show, Coping Mechanism, Anthony Victoria reveals its properties, particularly that of aluminum, as a drawing board, a slate, a futuristic canvas on which he essays the clashes, collusions, and inevitable cooperations of the human and the artificial, the beating heart and the thinking mind with the resonant forms of technology.