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

Ronald Ventura’s Humanime In Taiwan

Ronald Ventura changes gears once again for Humanime at the Fine Art Center in Tainan, Taiwan.  In this one-man show, which ended this week, Ronald exhibited large-scale paintings and life-sized sculpture, embracing an aesthetic that hews close to the superflats of artists like Takashi Murakami and Aya Takano.  He has incorporated anime elements in most of his recent works, but this marks the first time he has mined this concept so thoroughly. Ronald enjoys a tremendous following in Taiwan.   He pulled out all the stops for this exhibit, opening with a live performance involving models costumed in the cutesy-provocative style of Harajuku girls, an event duly covered by the city’s media. Continue reading

Realities, The Ronald Ventura Book

At the book launch

These days, Ronald Ventura carries one of the most recognizable names in Philippine—even Asian— art.  We constantly discuss the millions of pesos (and after the Christie’s Spring Auctions in May, the million dollars) his pieces command in the salerooms in Hong Kong.  While we marvel at his incredible technique, we moan about the impossibly long waiting list for any of his works. Many of us, even the most ardent art collectors, tend to forget that Ronald’s success today has meant more than a dozen years of consistency and confidence, of pushing the boundaries, of staying ahead of the game, of ignoring the skeptics and enduring controversy. Continue reading

Altarpieces at Artesan

Ronald Ventura's assemblage

While the parallel events around Art Stage Singapore marked the first time that Philippine art made such a collective impact on the Southeast Asian art scene, one gallery in Singapore has been working for years to introduce Pinoy artists to this market.  In a converted shophouse at a leafy residential enclave half an hour from busy Orchard Road, Artesan Galelry + Studio not only hosts exhibits of Filipino art.  They have also collaborated with the National University of Singapore to bring artists such as Ronald Ventura (2008) and Antipas Delotavo (2009) into the university’s museum.  Continue reading

Ronald Ventura Converges Nature

It must have been ages since Ronald Ventura mounted a show of mostly small works.  We’ve come to associate his astronomical auction prices to equally colossal pieces.  Whether or not he conceptualized his paintings and sculpture for Converging Nature with an eye towards making them accessible to his Manila collectors, I thought that their scale worked very well with the gallery’s space.  I even felt that his bond paper-sized paintings trumped his bigger ones in terms of subject and detail.   Continue reading

Viewing The Paulino Que Collection of Young Contemporary Artists (aka, The I Wish They Were Mine Show)

Three years ago, Ambeth Ocampo arranged for the

Kim Atienza and Ayala Museum's Ken Esguerra with Jojo Legaspi's "St Thelma"

Kim Atienza and Ayala Museum's Ken Esguerra with Jojo Legaspi's "St Thelma"

Board of Trustees of the Museum Foundation of the Philippines to view Paulino and Hetty Que’s collection of Philippine art and historical objets.  Ambeth, perhaps only half-kidding, dubbed the occasion the tour of the”… real National Gallery”.  As he took us through the assembly of works, from Juan Luna’s canvases, to Fabian dela Rosa’s landscapes, then onto the Amorsolos, and the Thirteen Moderns, from the Ben Cabs to the Ang Kiukoks, we realized what Ambeth meant.  The staggering display covered the whole gamut of Philippine art history from Damian Domingo’s Academia de Dibujo to the 1980s.   Continue reading

NEW YEAR SALVO: Pinoy Blockbusters in Milan and Beijing Show


The year starts off with great news for us art lovers—- our favorite Filipino artists have been invited to a show that travels to Milan and Beijing.  Southeast is B(l)ooming opens on Febuary 11, with a special client preview sometime January,  at the Marella Gallery in Milan.  The show brings together the current crop of contemporary art darlings that dominate both the auction and gallery circuits of Southeast Asia.  Continue reading

30 Hours in Singapore: ArtSingapore, the Biennale, Christie’s Preview, Thai Encounter, and Dinner with a National Artist

Identities by Ronald Ventura

Identities by Ronald Ventura

Sometimes, a journey planned spontaneously turns out more interesting than one crafted around a carefully drawn up itinerary.  About two weeks ago, this is exactly what happened to me when a last-minute trip to the Lion City yielded a surprising bonanza of memorable exploits.

Turning Back by Ronald Ventura

Turning Back by Ronald Ventura

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