Friday, April 19, 2013

ONGOING EXHIBIT: Hypnagogia, Brink of sleep

Hypnagogia: Brink Of Sleep

"The path bridging the conscious and the unconscious is ethereal, and the sensations we get from it, ephemeral."  Artist Tokwa Peñaflorida interprets the journey to sleep with sprites and spirits with long lush, hair, and spellbinding eyes that convey sensuality and voyeurism.  He also included different cultural concepts concerning dreams, such as the bangungot or batibat of Philippine folklorethe incubus and the succubus which are almost universal, and the use of dreamcatchers by the Native Americans.
Peñaflorida’s style is highly influenced by the works of Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Japanese pop art: the enhanced sensuality of the female, dreamlike, provocative, and cheekiness. As a result, his work is always, although subtly, highly emotional.  He uses different techniques such as wash, and mediums, mostly acrylic and watercolour, both fitting to bring about the gossamer and incorporeal elements of dreams.
For Hypnagogia, the artist exhibits melancholic “sleep creatures” which emanate a longing for the dreamer, as if hoping to be remembered after the enchantments of sleep wear off, their eyes, enticing, hypnotizing, offering themselves. The dreamer, in his consciousness, is either relieved or distraught, but nevertheless struggling to recall the sensations he felt—the dream itself.
One of the paintings in the exhibit, Recurrence,  is an illustration of Peñaflorida’s recurring dream wherein a naked woman holds a huge needle against the backdrop of a crystal castle. In recurring dreams, the dreamer is bound by confusion from the seemingly meaningless abstractions. Many would claim that this kind of dream is a prophecy or a reassessment of the dreamer’s state in life. Somehow it seems romantic to think that these dreams could just be a showoff of the enchantress, to show pointless things to the dreamer that is not normal. Nonetheless, it attests to the connection of the dreamer and his dream spirit.
Our suppressed and unconscious desires are presented to us as we cross the bridge from the conscious to the unconscious. According to Freud, our dream symbolisms are sometimes shaped by our life instincts or Eros  (survival, pleasure, and reproduction). This instinct creates a libidinal energy that is greatly projected in dreams, which is sometimes blatant, but most of the times hidden. Death instincts or Thanatos is, unconsciously, our desire to die. These instincts set the mood as to what, how, and who we see in our dreams.  
Contrary to the idea that dreams are considered to be the opposite of reality, it is, in its subliminal and truest form, a reality—a few intimate minutes with the dreamer and his undisclosed fantasies.
                                                                                                            -Yohan Belarmino

In the languid slumber of reality 

About the artist:  
Tokwa Peñaflorida

The young man as a portrait of an artist begins with the words indelibly inked on his two legs: Lorem Ipsum. He professes them to be part of his advocacy of the decorative absurdity. He is silent on the fact that they are the flawed preamble to a dissertation on pleasure and pain.

Like the phrase, the subconscious polarizes the readings of his artwork. There is a weight behind his apparent portraits of beauty. Languorous gazes, sinuous lines, and decorative effects points his stylistic influences: Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, Audrey Kawasaki, Stella Im Hultberg. With them he shares the fixation of the malleable allure of the feminine. But his figures are often laced with confusion. He prefers to flaw them. The surfaces are tactile with imperfections, in layers or washes or phantom manifestations. His canvases are like lovely blossoms with the perfect worm in the heart of florid putrescence.

His recent works reflect the change from his earlier oeuvre, in which he explores the expressionistic character of his washes within his psychological vignettes, drawing from the subject of a darker eros--one kin and wed to primordial chaos.

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