Dashing Through Manila’s Art Scene (ie Catching What I Can)

Annie Cabigting, Warhol's grave, for "Black and White Under A Shroud of Gray and Gray"

Apologies for the sparse postings, but somehow, a project we undertook a few months ago has morphed into Art Fair Philippines 2013, and now it seems that every free minute of the day has been devoted to that beast!  For more information—yes, shameless plug!—please do check out www.artfairphilippines.com or https://www.facebook.com/artfairph Continue reading

Due North: Ronald Ventura and Santi Bose at Vargas Museum

From "Watching The Watchmen", Ronald Ventura at Vargas Museum

“As a Filipino, I find the bulul such an iconic figure.  It immediately comes to mind once I think of sculpture that’s uniquely ours.  So I thought to myself, how would you present the bulul as contemporary art? How would you take it beyond its being a cultural symbol?” Continue reading

Rodel Tapaya’s Portraits of Dieties, Functional Art from Broke, and Froilan Calayag’s Critters

Rodel Tapaya, "Melu", acrylic on canvas and glass mirror, 49.5x 39.5 inches

When Rodel Tapaya first burst into the scene some six or seven years ago, he did a series of portraits of people in the neighborhood, a group of works he christened Pintados.  Using burlap sacks as his ground, he embellished the visages of such characters as the town gossip, the mayor, and the village slacker with patterns taken from the tattooed natives of Pre-Hispanic Philippines. Continue reading

Lyra Garcellano, Gaston Damag, and Catalina Africa at Silverlens

Lyra Garcellano with Jeff Carnay for Taxonomy

Three generations of contemporary artists make up the Silverlens Galleries’ offerings for the month:  a celebrated Filipino artist in his 50s who now lives in France, a painter in her late 30s from the seminal group Surrounded By Water returning to performance art, and a young artist barely two years out of university experimenting with abstraction. Continue reading

The GSIS Art Collection at The National Museum

Hernando R. Ocampo, "Mission Accomplished", oil on canvas, 1949

The National Museum turned 111 years old today.  President Noynoy Aquino came to celebrate, the first sitting President since Fidel Ramos to visit the National Museum (shame on his two predecessors!).  Not only did he come to inaugurate the wonderfully restored Old Senate Session Hall, and its foyer, the Manuel L. Quezon Hall, he also announced that the government has set aside P557 Million for the museum’s working budget for 2013, and another P500 Million to complete the turnover of the Department of Tourism building to the National Museum Complex.  The president also declared similarly generous increases to the budgets of the National Library and the National Archives (a little more than P100 Million for each institution, if I remember his speech right), two very important repositories of our country’s history.  Hooray! Continue reading

Kawayan de Guia and the Halsema AX(i)S Art Project

Halsema AX(i)S Art Project at MO Space

I remember traversing the Halsema Highway aboard a Dangwa Transit bus, and it felt like a journey to another world.  This happened many years ago, but to this day, when I think about that trip from Baguio to Sagada, I mostly remember being jostled through hairpin bends and bounced up and down to the clucking of chickens–not exactly conducive to sleeping off excesses from the night before. Continue reading

The Thirteen Artists Awards 2012

Leeroy New's interventions on the CCP's main staircase

I decided to come early this time around, and felt amply rewarded for my efforts.  There is much to recommend the 2012 Thirteen Artists Awards exhibit, and I wanted the opportunity to savor it on my own pace. Continue reading

Wonder Women at West Gallery: Nona Garcia, Geraldine Javier, Elaine Navas, and Yasmin Sison

Nona Garcia, "Before The Sea"

Should we ever compile a Philippine version of Art Review’s annual Power List, these ladies will surely make the cut.  Nona Garcia, Geraldine Javier, and Yasmin Sison first burst into the Southeast Asian art scene via their show Silent Declarations at Valentine Willie Fine Art in KL nine years ago.  They helped pave the way for Filipino emerging artists to seep into the consciousness of audiences outside Manila’s cocoon.  A few years later came the auctions, and with a little help from Sotheby’s and Christies, the three ladies firmly established their reputations as art superstars.  Together with Elaine Navas, a Singapore-based Filipina painter (who the three have all professed boundless admiration for) they headline West Gallery’s offerings for this month: Continue reading

The Charlie Cojuangco Collection: Augmented Minds

Louie Cordero, "Man's Head/ Zombie/ Radiation", ballpoint ink on paper, 2008

I really enjoy it when Charlie Cojuangco brings out pieces from his personal collection.  Because he has chosen to focus on current work, I find that his collection serves as a reliable index of the past decade and a half. No, you won’t find the Moderns among his acquisitions.  What you get is a great gauge of the art of his time, especially of artists from his native Negros. Continue reading