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

Louie Cordero and Jacob Lindo: Collages at West Gallery

Louie Cordero, "No Future, No Title No. 11"

Over at West Gallery, Louie Cordero and Jacob Lindo bring us the exciting possibilities of collages. As part of the gallery’s monthly quartet of exhibits, both artists have coincidentally mounted solo shows that make use of this art making technique. We witness how a similar approach yields to two distinct aesthetics. Continue reading

Kaloy Sanchez, His Missives, And More at West Gallery

Kaloy Sanchez likes to be alone.  The twenty-nine-year-old artist recluses himself in his studio, painting the environment that exists within what he calls a bubble, the world that encompasses only his immediate surroundings.  He hardly ventures out, not even for the receptions that open his group shows.  He chooses to keep largely to himself despite his recent rise into the consciousness of Manila’s art collectors. Continue reading

Andres Barrioquinto, Iya Consorio, and Tad Pagaduan at West Gallery

By Andres Barrioquinto

For his solo exhibit, Shadow Dancer, Andres Barrioquinto continues with his series of portraits embellished by elements from Japanese prints.  He has taken this direction for the past two years, decidedly moving away from the darker, mildly grotesque, faces of his early paintings into the realm of the decorative.  Andy has adopted the bright palette associated with these prints— bright purples, and oranges, and reds— piling on layers of traditional Japanese figures (the samurai, the geisha, the theater actor) as adornments that partially obscure his subjects’ features. Continue reading

September Roundup: Christina Quisumbing Ramilo, Roberto Chabet, Mark Andy Garcia, Jigger Cruz, Dex Fernandez, Bjorn Calleja, Cos Zicarelli, Kawayan de Guia

Jigger Cruz, "Dead End", detail

Between awaiting this upgraded site and attending to a ton of work, September just whizzed by me.  Manila’s art scene yielded some incredible shows.  While I did get the chance to catch most of them, I couldn’t find the time to sit down and write.  For posterity’s sake, I thought I’d document them here anyway.  Here are September 2011’s highlights: Continue reading

Roberto Chabet: 50 Years Comes To Manila- Ziggurat at West Gallery, onethingafteranother at Finale

Roberto Chabet, "Ziggurat Drawings 5"

After exhibits in Singapore and Hong Kong in January and February, the Manila leg of Roberto Chabet: 50 Years opened with two shows running almost simultaneously.  Ziggurat at West Gallery and onethingafteranother at Finale are the most recent events in this yearlong project. The series of exhibits celebrates Roberto Chabet’s half a century of influence in the Philippine art scene. Continue reading

Manuel Ocampo and His Co-boycotters of Beauty at West Gallery

Installation of Manuel Ocampo's paintings

What would you expect from an exhibit called Boycotter of Beauty and the Theoretical Steroid Defiled Modernist Chicken?   Continue reading

Nona Garcia’s Fine Fractures

Nona Garcia, "A Series Of Fractures", x-ray plates made into light boxes

I loved the quiet impact of Fractures, Nona Garcia’s show that opened this week at West Gallery.  I honestly did not know what to expect from this, her third show of the year, coming as it did on the heels of her SLab and Finale exhibits.  For those two shows, Nona gave us major pieces, firmly announcing she had come back after a brief hiatus.  As majestic as her two oversized paintings

Nona Garcia, "Above Water", photo assemblage

had been, White, blank(at Slab in March) and Fall Leaves After Leaves Fall (at Finale in May) simply reacquainted us with Nona.  She revisited signature devices, her portraits from behind and depictions of damaged and abandoned spaces. Continue reading

Geraldine Javier Gets Bugged

Geraldine Javier, "Temple of My Familiar"

Geraldine Javier, "Temple of My Familiar"

These days, Geraldine Javier gets off on creepy crawlies.  Nope, she doesn’t harbor the hots for some congressman. Not with that kind of a low life. We’re talking literally. You know, praying mantis longer than the average guy’s hand span.  Giant beetles that turn

Geraldine Javier, "Wallflowers"

Geraldine Javier, "Wallflowers"

a luminous shade of chartreuse depending on which angle you look at it.  We’re talking dragonflies and damselflies with exoskeletons that give off a dull metallic glint when hit by the late afternoon sun.  These days, as Ghe transforms into a hermit, spending months cocooned in her studio, she keeps company with dozens of insects, frozen, lacquered, and preserved to her exact specifications. Continue reading

West End Boys: Jonathang Ching, Kaloy Olavides, Lawrence Bersoto, and Dennis Gonzales

I set out early from Makati on the day I caught West Gallery’s opening of four shows, one for each of its exhibit spaces.  I arrived

Jonathan Ching with his pieces, "Deja Vu (After Edouard Manet)"

Jonathan Ching with his "Deja Vu (After Edouard Manet)"

just as they set up the coffee station, the aroma of freshly-brewed beans keeping me company as I criss-crossed the gallery’s rooms, taking in the works on the walls.  Quite a melange from relatively young artists  with very distinct styles and subject matter.

Jonathan Ching continues his series on immortality which he first explored in his show in KL a few months ago.  In the main wall of his space, three portraits lend their

Jonathan Ching, "Gang of Four:  Larry, Moe, Curly, and Me"

Jonathan Ching, "Gang of Four: Larry, Moe, Curly, and Me"

titles to the show, If Its White and In a Bottle, It Must Be Milk.  These paintings depict Princess Diana and the late rap superstar Francis Magalona in life, and the last, the Dalai Lama.  As Jon explains, the title comes from the words of  Alexandre Dumas as he delves on the difference between perception and reality, especially the reality that these immortals had to contend with vis-a-vis their high profile lives.

Jonathan Ching, "If It's White and In a Bottle, It Must Be Milk" series

Jonathan Ching, "If It's White and In a Bottle, It Must Be Milk" series

I thought that the mixed media piece, Deja Vu (After Edouard Manet), which combines a cast iron bull positioned above Jon’s depiction of Manet’s slain matador came off as the most interesting.  It may even have the potentials of spinning off into another show, perhaps the beginning of a series of similar mixed media wall works.

"You Are A Moment" and Lawrence Bersoto

"You Are A Moment" and Lawrence Bersoto

Lawrence Bersoto and Dennis Gonzales stick to what they’ve done before.  Lawrence captures photographic moments with his usual skill.  Dennis reveals hidden lives and desires.

Lawrence Bersoto, "April 202009"

Lawrence Bersoto, "April 202009"

Dennis Gonzales, "Eat All You Can"

Dennis Gonzales, "Eat All You Can"

You can just imagine how much work Kaloy Olavides puts into his collages.  He begged, borrowed, and, maybe, stole magazines from family, friends, and strangers to gather enough photographs to complete his pieces.  Kaloy works with repetitive images painstakingly put together.  In his Need Extension series, he has hundreds of hands appearing to reach out to man’s three basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter.  In Etherealscape, the eyes have it.  As with the hands, he cut, pasted, and lacquered more than 100 eyes for this one piece.

Dennis Gonzales, "Princess" and "Finding Bambi"

Dennis Gonzales, "Princess" and "Finding Bambi"

If Its White and Its in a Bottle It Must Be Milk by Jonathan Ching, Chaotic Serenity by Kaloy Olavides, Nothing New Under the Sun by Dennis Gonzales, and You Are A

Kaloy Olivades, "Etherealscape" (detail)

Kaloy Olavides, "Etherealscape" (detail)

Moment by Lawrence Bersoto runs from 13 August to 14 September 2009 at West Gallery, 48 West Ave., Quezon City.  Phone (632) 411-9221 or visit

http:// http://www.

Kaloy Olivades, "Etherealscape"

Kaloy Olavides, "Etherealscape"

Kaloy Olivades, "Need Extension" Series

Kaloy Olavides, "Need Extension" Series

Kaloy Olivades, "Need Extension" (detail)

Kaloy Olavides, "Need Extension" (detail)