Catching Up On Manila’s Art Scene: Troy Ignacio at The Drawing Room, Ley Hunting at Silverlens, An Auction at Finale, Spanish Artists at DAGC, and Erwin Leano and Wataru Sakuma at Art Informal

Wataru Sakuma, "Roxas Blvd" at Map, Art Informal

Doing the rounds of galleries gave way to other projects these past few weeks, but this weekend proved a good time to catch up on Manila’s offerings:


Troy Ignacio’s pieces don’t obviously come off as social commentaries, but the state of our national psyche does drive the creation of his work.  Goldfish, the title of his one-man show at The Drawing Room, refers to the now-debunked myth that goldfish possess a memory span of only three seconds.  “We Filipinos, we’re the same”, he states.  “That’s why we keep repeating our mistakes!”

Troy’s paintings and drawings maintain the black and white palette he has adopted these past two years.  Three oil on canvas pieces line the gallery’s long wall, blurred portraits that mask the identities of his subjects.  A date in red has been painted discreetly to the side of each painting, simulating the branding of dates on photographs.  He explains, “The date means may nangyari, it marks the passage of an experience.” In his view, most likely as not, given the Pinoys’ purported short-term memories, these events will fade away, turn just as ambiguous as his subjects’ features.

Bond paper-sized charcoal drawings make up the rest of his work in this show.  All depict sharp objects that Troy has also rendered indistinct.  “Eventually, we collectively forget, no matter how painful (the event).”

Goldfish runs from 18 August to 12 September 2012 at The Drawing Room, 1007 Metropolitan Avenue, Metrostar Building, Makati City.  Phone (632) 897-7877 or visit or

Three oil on canvas portraits by Troy Ignacio

Charcoal drawings of sharp objects by Troy Ignacio

Detail, charcoal drawing

Cleaver in charcoal

Exhibit installation view



You could call this a show of force.  As Silverlens prepares to unveil its Singapore branch this month, their current Manila exhibit carries work from all the artists in their roster, those they represent so ably and professionally.  With fifteen of the most exciting names in Philippine art under their banner, can anyone doubt that Silverlens is one of the city’s most important galleries?

Difficult as it may be to stand out in a sea of superstars, Maria Taniguchi has managed to do just that.  The latest in her series of “brick” paintings —so-called because brick-like patterns in varying shades of black and gray blanket the entire canvas— stands 15-feet high.

The subtlety of the pattern that Maria uses belies the amount of obsessive work required to complete the piece. Using a small brush, she paints block-by-block, employing the same technique used to apply watercolor, the gradations in shades achieved by varying the amounts of water and acrylic, the depths of black dependent on her mood.  While she has exhibited other paintings in this series, all called Untitled (Mirrors),  this particular one seems to have been completed with less rigidity than previously.  Consequently, her intention to transform the canvas into a surface seemingly clad in metal, one that captures reflected light, comes across more clearly.

It’s also nice to welcome Hanna Pettyjohn back in the scene and once again view what she does best—beautifully detailed large-scale portraits painted on canvas.  And lest we forget that Silverlens started out as a gallery for photo-based works, the output from the practitioners of this genre reminded us how exciting this medium can be.  Fabulous work from Frank Callaghan, Isa Lorenzo, Rachel Rillo, and Gina Osterloh!

Ley Hunting runs from 23 August to 15 September 2012 at Silverlens, 2F YMC Bldg., 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension (Chino Roces Avenue Extension), Makati City.  Phone (632) 816-0044 or visit or


Exhibit curator Gary Ross Pastrana and Maria Taniguchi

At the foreground, lace sculpture by Patricia Eustaquio, at back Maria Taniguchi, "Untitled (Mirrors)"

Detail, Maria Taniguchi

Isa Lorenzo, "Courtiers", single edition photogram

Isa Lorenzo, "Sulu" and "Kumari", photograms

Rachel Rillo, "Ceiling Peel"

Rachel Rillo, "Mopline"

Gina Osterloh, "Wide Group Dynamic"

Frank Callaghan seascapes and Wawi Navaroza photographs

Frank Callaghan, "Seascape #1"

Oil on canvas portraits by Hanna Pettyjohn and drawings by Cos Zicarelli


Hanna Pettyjohn

Hanna Pettyjohn, "MTJ/VW (the glass between us, boy)"


Cos Zicarelli, two parts of the triptych "Lake of Fire (Burnout)"

Cos Zicarelli, third part of his triptych of drawings

Ryan Villamael, "Threadless" series

Ryan Villamael, "Threadless 1", detail

Installation view, Mariano Ching (foreground) and Gary Ross Pastrana (at wall)

Mariano Ching, "We The Primitives"

Collages by Gary Ross Pastrana

Pencil drawings by Christina Dy, "Swarm 1" and "Swarm 2"

Dina Gadia, "Splendor of Inevitable/ Harder the Fall"


Luis Lorenzana, "Candy"

Installation view

Krie Lopez, Isa Lorenzo, and Yael Borromeo



Nothing like an auction to gauge the local art market—-or satisfy curiosities on who is unloading at what price and if anyone actually bites. In other words, a chance for art addicts to kibitz, and maybe, just maybe, score that longed-for piece.  We may occasionally sniff at the commodification of art, but really,  we can’t deny how much fun it is to follow the money (especially when it belongs to somebody else!).

Yamang Katutubo and Finale Art Gallery Annual Auction was held on 1 September 2012 at Finale Art Gallery, Warehouse 17, La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Pasong Tamo (Chino Roces Avenue), Makati City.  Phone (632) 813-2310 or visit or

Getting ready for the auction, auctioneer Ramon Villegas and Finale's Sylvia Gascon

Some of the pieces up for grabs

By RM de Leon and Elmer Borlongan

Works by Roberto Chabet elicited furious bidding

Untitled and undated HR Ocampo--- but definitely genuine!

Cesar Legaspi, "Transition", 1992, Ang Kiukok, "Violet Red Landscape", 1967, and Cesar Legaspi, "Two Figures", 1992

Both Mark Justiniani paintings went over their opening bids. "Geronimo's Desire", 1992, and "Takda", 2006


Louie Cordero, "Cow", 1992 also sold

Solomon Saprid sculpture

No takers for signed Rolling Stones memorabilia

Painting of Rockwell burning, painted on the spot by Romulo Galicano


Ronald Venturas on offer

More Ronald Venturas on offer

Anyone interested?

Saturday afternoon auction crowd



When the Cultural Section of the Embassy of Spain asked Manuel Ocampo, head honcho of the Department of Avant-Garde Clichés (DAGC Gallery), to organize an exhibit of Spanish artists, he tapped into a network of colleagues from his years in Sevilla.  Seven artists heeded his call.

In keeping with the gallery’s thrust to promote contemporary printmaking, almost all the pieces on view are works on paper: multiples and monoprints, one large-scale felt tip pen drawing on plastic paper, and from Spanish-Filipina artist, Valeria Cavestany, riotous floral-themed collages.

Procesos Y Transformaciones with Angeles Agrela, Pilar Albaraccin, Javier Arce, Valeria Cavestany, Chema Cobo, Abraham Lacalle, Miki Leal, and Jose Piñar runs from 1 September to 27 October 2012 at DAGC Gallery, 2289 Pasong Tamo Extension, UPRC III Bldg., Makati City. Phone (632) 817-2042 or visit or

Recreating Goya with marking pens on plastic paper

Collage by Valeria Cavestany

Enjoying more of Valeria's collages

Group of multiples


Installation view




No one can put it better than Joel Alonday, sculptor and Art Informal’s resident curator:

“In a sector of the world that is often besieged by unnecessary clutter, an Erwin Leaño painting becomes a break in the procession of parodies of the human condition that is so much in vogue in today’s contemporary art galleries.”

Erwin’s oil paintings on canvas seem anachronistic, almost as if they didn’t belong in a gallery that prides itself in discovering young artists on the verge. In Peripheries, we encounter a nipa hut in the middle of a rice field, slippers on a pavement, a cat by the door, all rendered in a monochromatic, almost sepia palette, on modest sized canvases. Yet it is the old fashioned, quiet vibe that makes this show so refreshing, a throwback to when I was first drawn to paintings, when it didn’t bother me that they simply represented sanitized versions of reality. It’s been awhile since I revelled in the pretty.

Art Informal's Gigi Lapid and Erwin Leano with his painting "Towards Tomorrow"

Installation view

Erwin Leano, "Kahit Munti"

Erwin Leano, "Muning"

Erwin Leano, "Unending Horizon"



Now here we have the discovery of the week, a pretty good way to end a day devoted to art pursuits!  Tagaytay-based Japanese artist Wataru Sakuma pounded old newspapers into pulp and molded them into what he calls “intricate linear drawings in relief” that trace the streets of Metro Manila.   Each one represents a portion of the metropolis (a section of Roxas Boulevard, for instance).

Wataru has mounted each piece against a mirrored background, conveying an impression of a either  termite-infested panels of wood or multiple layers of lace spread out on a flat surface. Who would’ve thought this chaotic, cluttered megalopolis we call home could look this good?

Peripheries by Erwin Leaño and Map by Wataru Sakuma run from 1 to 16 September 2012 at Art Informal, 277 Connecticut Ave., Greenhills East, Mandaluyong City.  Phone (632) 725-8518 or visit or

Cos Zicarelli with Wataru Sakuma

Installation view

Like lace

Wataru Sakuma, "Map Sansrival 6"

Crowding around Wataru's maps


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