13 Aug - 31 Aug 2016
8 Questions is a group show comprised of recent graduates from the UP College of Fine Arts’ Studio Arts program: namely, Carmela Dagdag, Maisha Dela Cruz, Gale Encarnacion, Carzen Esprela, Donna Go, Venus Mar, Nicole Tee, and Aileen Viñas. Each artist possesses distinct creative identities evident in the various ideas, styles, and processes embodied by the works presented.
The exhibit’s title pertains to the eight artists and the questions they posed during their degree show which lasted from May 25 to June 4. 8 Questions features the selected artists’ theses albeit in a slightly altered form to adapt to the gallery’s space. The works span across a variety of media incorporating video, photography, sculpture, installation, and painting to express a variegated thematic spectrum ranging from the grotesque and corporeal to the experiential, the personal, and the politically subversive.
The former description is readily apparent in Bag in a Boat, wherein Carzen Esprela explores the relationship between humans and tools, as well as the memories we ascribe to such objects, via an anthropomorphic manifestation—composed of found objects adhered with epoxy—of his journey from South Cotabato to Manila.
Meanwhile, in Gale Encarnacion’s Blow Me, the ephemerality and fragility of human life is conveyed through chewing gum manipulated to resemble flimsy guts, flesh, and other viscera, presented in jars (mimicking laboratory specimens) as well as a video depicting the gum as a breathing organism.
Dismembered plastic dolls are used to form oversized and lustrous sculptures of food in Carmela Dagdag’s Idolatry as a satirical stance towards the prevalence of commodity fetishism and the all-too-frequent interchangeability of desire and need, apparent in consumer culture.
Some works, alternately, are heavily embedded with the artist’s keen attention to their surroundings as observable in Aileen Viñas’ Merger. Wooden structures, patterned after skyscrapers, are integrated with live plants to combine the prominent qualities of two vastly different territories—the congestion of an urban city and the ubiquitous vegetation of the countryside—a stark yet optimistic comment on the complex relationship between urbanization and ecology.
On the other hand, the transition from serenity to chaos is embodied and lamented in Nicole Tee’s work entitled Quiet Punctuations wherein she constructs an audiovisually immersive space depicting the disruption rampant commercialization has inflicted on her neighborhood as well as other nearby residential zones.
Virtual space, specifically social media, and its effect on our perception of time are investigated in Venus Mar’s Time Management is an Oxymoron. The artist seeks to address our dependence on instant gratification instilled by the relentless bombardment of information online by looping seemingly aimless videos and sound clips, intended to agitate viewers thus emphasizing our need for the sense of fulfillment.
Some works however are introspective and deeply personal while still exhibiting concrete political statements. Case in point, racial prejudice is critiqued and dismantled in Maisha dela Cruz’s Contra Color wherein layers of medical gauze painted in various skin tones are utilized as a metaphor for the wounds discrimination has inflicted on her and other victims as well.
Similarly, Donna Go’s frustration with being typecast has informed her series of paintings titled Si Malakas ay Maganda, in which she juxtaposes and merges signifiers of femininity with archetypal depictions of masculinity in order to interrogate the traditional and normative gender boundaries still enforced strongly today.
Clearly, these eight talented artists are fixated on different topics and methods, each with their own specific aspirations, but they are nonetheless driven, committed, and pregnant with potential, whose divergent trajectories are yet to be tracked.
8 Questions will open on 13 August 2016 and will be on view until the 31st at the Tin-aw Art Gallery.
Contact Tin-aw Art Gallery for information on the exhibition at the Upper Ground Floor, Somerset Olympia Building Makati Avenue, Makati City. Phone+632-8927522 .
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