Thursday, December 10, 2015

Values by Rai Cruz and Gabby Tiongson

The absence of meaning in art is a rare occurrence. A brush stroke is never empty, a shade hardly hollow. Behind the seemingly uncalculated curations is a strong undertow. 

Values are the muses that fuel the human drive and dictate the human creativity. It is the subconscious influence, the North Star that guides the process of an artist and, ultimately, the artist themselves. Art is a direct reflection of the things we hold dear, the things that matter to us, and, at times, the vanishing remnants of values of an era almost forgot, fossils of a value-centric ideal, both simultaneously disappearing and clawing to be remembered at the sprint of the present.

With a divine chaos of color and grit, reminiscent of both pop tart aesthetics and textured memories, Gabby Tiongson and Rai Cruz's "Values" goes back to basics and gets down to what really matters.

Ugly Truth by Chalk Zaldivar

The facade of politeness for the sake of false harmony is put under scrutiny in Chalk Zaldivar's latest series UGLY TRUTH. He presents a satirical take on the forbidden territories of insult and anger in a non-confrontational society such as ours. Sensitivity to negative comments is a common characteristic for humans. The use of niceties and to walk around eggshells to spare another's feeling has become an expectation, if not a requirement.

Criticizing the lack of straightforwardness and also to vent some of his personal frustrations and irritations, he employs exaggerated imagery. For instance, being fat or having overly active sweat glands turn into points of focus that the artist blows up in infinite proportions with the use of his signature style. To receive the full effect of his premise, he pairs each of the pieces equally witty and audacious titles. Taking the idea from stand-up comedians Louis CK, Bill Burr and Ricky Gervais, he exhibits a refreshingly candid and direct approach in expressing his grievances.

He includes a self-portrait to the series, in admittance of his participation in the ridiculousness of this truthfully egoistical habit. Highlighting his own flaws and insecurities, the artist doesn’t spare himself from being part of his own joke.

Zaldivar remains brave and unapologetic in the crassness and the deliberate lack of depth. In protest of people who are oblivious to their own shallowness, he presents the premise that perhaps it is okay to be so. And that it is good, if not even healthy, to release and admit the tension rather than internalize for the sake of political correctness.

Talking Dollars Dub Smash by David Griggs

TALKING DOLLARS DUB SMASH mixes iconography from Griggs’ fascination with the Wild West with Horror and with his own irrational thoughts. What we get is an eclectic yet democratic collection of paintings that seems to harness the pure primal element of painting. Griggs, being Australian by birth is talking in Dollars although he really should be talking in Kings. Being a direct ancestor of a British convict convicted of buggery in 1822 and sent to Van Diemen’s Land. Griggs uses what he calls “this irrelevant trivia of my origin” as a way to completely ignore “the current trends of making work about ones identity, I find it very silly” Although the fact of its mention can allow us to think that Griggs is indeed confronting his identity, or lack of his care towards it. Either way TALKING DOLLARS DUB SMASH gives us a glimpse into Griggs’ strange world where dub smashing to Hip Hop, painting cow skulls one day then painting penises the next does make one wonder.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

SOS by Renz Bautista

"It’s our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique.” 
- Conan O’Brien

Best advice in knowing your own identity is fully exploring yourself, your style. This is Hard.

Unending battle on how to standout not only from other artist but also the struggle in creating the so-called “perfect” artwork is not effortless.


Masters become masters because they know and accept the fact that there is no such thing as “perfect” art. This made them real and human enough to make priceless pieces.

S.O.S., represents the endless re-planning and revisions of an artist to achieve an ideal piece. Inspired by the late performance artist Bas Jan Ader’s work about a piece of paper that almost tears off due to the continuous draw-erase repetition, all result of the unsatisfied feeling towards his (Bas Jan) work. This collection magnifies struggles of a young artist in discovering his own piece of “perfection”. Today, severely obsessive self is born.

I Wonder How You Are by Kelli Maeshiro

Traveling across multiple metropolitan cities, Kelli Maeshiro has met a variety of people, many who became friends. But as Kelli was constantly on the move, time and distance widened the proximity to the people she knew. She missed her relationships with the friends and acquaintances she used to see. The concept for I wonder how you are comes from the artist’s recollections of the people she has met along her travels but will never see again. In everyday moments away from home, Kelli found herself writing imaginary letters to the memories she had of people she once knew. She began each letter by asking “I wonder how you are?” to the memories she had of a specific individual. In those letters, Kelli discovered the most honest side of herself. The letters became a space of reflection where she could reminisce about the mistakes, regrets, and uncertainties in her relationships with people—past, present, and future.

The paintings in I wonder how you are capture the artist’s memories of the people to whom she writes. The layers of hazy color washes and hard outlines depict strong snapshots of quickly passing moments combined with her memories, grown misty with time. In this series, Kelli composed each letter and painting simultaneously, choosing images for the painting at the same time that she penned the letter. She added or subtracted elements to and from each painting by filtering it through her memories, aesthetics, and senses. Each painting in the series corresponds to unique objects or characteristics associated with the memories of that person, and the back of each painting contains Kelli’s unsent letter.

The basis of Kelli’s work relies on the reflection of personal experiences and relationships. She regrets missed opportunities to get to know someone, and as she grows older, has recognized the value of those missed opportunities. She thinks of her own work as sentimental. She believes that people are sentimental about the things or time they miss—these sentimental self-reflections are what her paintings address. The paintings in this series can be read as soft and hazy, like distant memories. We recreate memories as we remember them in the present, and may think of them differently in the future. In our memories, we forget parts of what really happened, and stories become fragmented and then pieced back together with truth and a small dose of fiction. Kelli’s letters in this series are the same as these kinds of memories. They are parts and pieces of a person, infused with her thoughts and reflection, filtered from her perspective. In this way, her work offers an honestly raw and refreshing perspective on our relationship to memory.

Kara Hisatake, PhD, UC Santa Cruz Literature Department


Kelli Maeshiro is a Japanese-American born in Japan and raised in Hawai‘i. She worked in Tokyo, Boston, Portland, and currently resides in Manila and Honolulu. She earned her BA in studio art at Willamette University. I wonder how you are is her first solo show in Manila. She has previously worked as an in-house marketing/magazine designer/photographer, and the combination of magazine, design, and photography experience has influenced her current work.

Cryptoentomology by Tano Panaligan

A legend of an epidemic when people discover an ancient book about insects. Little did they know the book was of ability of insects in destroying humans. And in all faiths of mankind, people experimented till all was lost by their own hands. 

Heed the whirring noise of the distant swarm, an epidemic is signaling its return. 

The city has been drowned in the sound of a million buzzing wings singing a brooding, discordant hymn as hexapods march their way out of dilapidated buildings to lurk into every disquiet avenue. All the districts, streets and parks that once radiated life are now shrouded in an eerie sense of decay. Everything has fallen into disrepair. 

Disoriented ants creep out of fractured asphalt roads, almost mimicking blood oozing out of the crevices. Blank-eyed Cicadas blurt out their cacophonous songs as they witness the self-disemboweling dance of a thousand mutant bees buzzing around a fluctuating lamppost. The swarm is back; they are never leaving.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Don't Mind Me... I'm Just Trippin' by Regen Mulingtapang

When the mind dives into a whole different world in which then comes intuitive perception and responsiveness to the environment, it is often marked by a full recollection of visions from colorful to playful characters. It is a dream-like state. Everything is trippy.

People have different hallucinations, some never forget their experience. Dreams can be an annoyance and a mystery to some. A higher level of conscious awareness, when taken advantage of, makes more sense when you enjoy the pleasures of your dream. Everything is trippy.

Don't find the middle ground. Don't try to understand. Stay high and have the most awesome adventures in your wakefulness. Lucid and vivid dreams that are magical and blissful. Everything is trippy.

If sleep is fascinating, to dream is even more so. But being awake is extremely benevolent and joyous as represented in fantasia. Everything is trippy.

Delusions come with profounding light. Time to propagate the experiences, the visions, the magical scenes then sleep long and deep. Don't mind me...I'm just trippin'. Everything is trippy.

Laro-Laruan by Whooop

A toy is a right of passage. No man goes through life without the rapture of a toy. Such has formed countless of childhoods. Vinyl toys, stuffed toys, dolls and robots, plastic cars and kitchen sets: symbols of the carefree and the imagined. Often equated with bliss, toys are an escape from the dreary shades of the mundane.

But beyond the reveries of childhood innocence is a parallelism with the tainted realities of modern day, an age where decay and corruption is all but void, and a time where the lives of many are played with.

Whoop’s Laro-laruan is a reflection of the irony in child’s play: that like children, the freedom we feel in play always comes with a duality: that beyond our playpen is a constricted freedom, a world where we both serve as the player and the played. Through the totems of our childhood, Whoop reminds us that toys aren’t always about fun and games.

An Other by Martin Honasan

”Why do we have a brain in the first place? Not to write books, articles, or plays; not to do science or play music. Brains develop because they are an expedient way of managing life in a body.”

- Antonio Damasio, Portuguese neurobiologist 

The human face is the organic seat of beauty. In it is expressed, in larger measure than in any other parts of the organization, the individuality to which the life has attained. It is the brilliant focus where the rays from within are centered, where those from without are reflected. It is the register of value in development, a record of Experience, whose legitimate office is to perfect the life, a legible language to those who will study it, of the majestic mistress, the Soul.

- “Woman and her Era”, Volume 1, 
Eliza Wood Farnham, American Novelist, Activist

In the study of psychology, a Gestalt is defined as something unified in a way in which the elements cannot be broken down into its parts and the total piece cannot just be thought of as a sum of all its parts. The idea that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” has been known since the time of Aristotle. In Gestaltism the phrase has been adapted and translated: "The whole is other than the sum of its parts," which suggests that the totality is a completely separate entity than its individual components. Thus, my work examines the concept of the self, identity or consciousness, and poses the question: What does it mean to be more than a container for a system of mechanical exchanges and electrical impulses? 

The physical language of painting—the gestures of brushstrokes, the manipulation of surfaces, the selection of hues—comprises a vital part of my work. All movement is anchored by figurative imagery, where facial details are grafted with textured forms, as if the face is a continuation or natural development of the patterns. Much of the process enables me to work across a broad range of improvisational and measured approaches, allowing me to explore both emotional and technical aspects of art making.

Every aesthetic decision in painting, as with all creative activities, is a physical culmination of experiences that germinate in the mind. There are no insignificant strokes, as each one is a result of subjective activity processed from a barrage of input from the physical world. Our minds contain layers of thoughts that elicit joy and fear, and shadows where the misunderstood parts of our psyche are locked away. These systems of the mind are tangibly expressed both deliberately and reflexively in my work.

My work is composed of two layers superimposed against each other, with two separate creative processes, executed from two different approaches, yet one process informs the direction and leads to the completion of the other. The paintings in this series are meditations on consciousness and identity as Gestalts, to explore the rigid dichotomy between self as a purely physical substance versus the human being as an immaterial spiritual owner of consciousness.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Power Overwhelming by Ramona Gaston

Ramona Dela Cruz-Gaston's painted mandalas are kaleidoscope-like tessellations that swirl with radiant colors. In her first solo exhibition, the artist meditates on the drama of womanhood and the journey from maiden to mother.

She navigates the technical difficulties of the mandala, a form of sacred art, and organizes her personal iconography into hypnotizing geometric designs. Her meticulous canvases swim with symbols, bounded always by the strict symmetry she imposes on herself. The mandala is her way of taking control and making sense out of chaos.

Influenced by Art Nouveau, an architectural movement inspired by organic forms and curved lines, Dela Cruz-Gastonís signature is unapologetically feminine and emotional. Also leaving indelible marks on her practice are Frida Kahlo, a bold and fiery personality known for her self-portraits, and Patrick Woodroffe, beloved by science-fiction readers for his dreamlike book cover paintings. Combined, these forces have contributed to the vivid rendering of Dela Cruz-Gastonís surreal canvases.

Threshold by JR Urao

All of existence is made up of a succession of beginnings. Universes have been formed, created and destroyed under the mere breath of beginning. It is a concept that has also shaped and created a people that is ever evolving.

Our lives are made up of beginnings. Every second is a genesis and every ending is but a beginning in disguise. Though often glorified for what it can concieve, beginnings weave around every moment, both great and mundane; from the emergence of generations, to making a choice of walking to work.

Threshold chronicles and reveres the unspoken beginnings; the everyday and otherwise easily overlooked quirks that comprise the seemingly ordinary. JR Urao explores the silent inceptions that make up life itself.

Cloud Child by Iyan De Jesus

Self-taught artist Iyan De Jesus, softens the metallic edge of steampunk with pliant alabaster skin. Each painting is a pastel-hued post-apocalyptic techno-fantasy suffused in color.

Holding court against a background of mechanical complications are nymph-like cyborgs—more human than robot—whose dignified expressions hide stories rooted in mythology, literature, snatches of song, and fleeting moments between lucidity and sleep. To help viewers divine a work’s narrative, De Jesus camouflages elements among a multitude of gears: owls, hearts, snowflakes, gas lamps, and totem poles all serve as subtle bearers of meaning.

The attention to minutiae, obsession with geometric compositions and patterns, cleanliness of lines, and smoothness of surface hark back to De Jesus’s background in architecture and computer-aided design. Unlike formally trained artists who went from canvas to screen, De Jesus started “painting” with a mouse before she shifted to brushes and glazes. The jump from digital to traditional was a rebellion against the ephemeral nature of bits and bytes, as well as a surrender to the soul’s desire to create something lasting.

Each painting demands more than a cursory glance. Those who linger and look will be rewarded by the unexpected lyricism disguised by steampunk’s retro-futuristic tendencies. In between pulleys and wheels lie images that summon the sound of the sea, the slow and steady beat of the human heart.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

On Off Group Show

Janet Balbarona
Demi Padua 
Mark Arcamo
Janelle Tang 
Angge Lorente
Edric Go
Jessie Mondares
Mervin Pimentel 
Bjorn Calleja
Rolf Campos 
RA Tijing
Joel Quinones
Darrel Ballesteros
Dave Lock
Renz Bautista
Nile Pobadora
Galaxie Maria

This Is The Last Song, No I Changed My Mind by Arvin Flores and Mai Saporsantos

“This Is The Last Song, No I Changed My Mind” mixes abstract painting with pop music in exploring the jangled lines refraining in the pleasure of uncertain beauty expressed in the indescribable lyric which justifies the tune of the moment. This two-person exhibit by Arvin Flores and Mai Saporsantos features paintings and mixed media works incorporating texts taken from various songs combined with gestural abstraction and figuration that turn into narratives about individuality and style.

Arvin Flores has an MFA graduate degree from The School of the Arts, Columbia University, New York NY, and a BFA from the College of Creative Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara. His work combines elements from abstraction, figuration, and writing situated within symbolic narratives that relate to popular culture, social politics and history, as well as art and its concepts. 

Mai Saporsantos is a multi-disciplinary artist whose main interest lies in the various ways of manipulating and handling material that are formed from the well of her thoughts and ideas. Her current practice mainly involves the use of texts, or the translation of letters into image as non-words, which become receptacles of thought/non-thought as an abstracted narration of life experience. She received her BA in Art Studies from the University of the Philippines, Diliman, and has studied Combined Media Painting and Art in Three Dimensions at the Art Students League, NY.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Psychonaut by Miguel Paulo Borja

Humanity, in comparison to the rest of the universe, is a relatively new concept. But despite their short tenure they have become witnesses to exponential leaps in evolution and consciousness, and arguably, are the catalysts to an age of awareness and technological singularity. 

One of the best manifestations of this technological advancement is space travel. Always drawn towards the unknown, man’s insatiable curiosity has taken them beyond the bounds of earth and into the uncertainty of space. They’ve hurtled themselves countless of times into the abyss in the hopes of a deeper understanding of something greater. 

Many ancient belief systems have revolved around the worship of the cosmos, and it's not difficult to wonder why. The vast and panoramic expanse of the night sky spurns irony as much as it does curiosity. It can be both a spiritual experience as well as a reflection of man’s fear of it and the need to fathom it: a merging of science and spirituality; a movement outwards as much as it is inwards.

As man ventures out to discover if there is life beyond earth, a small part of humanity’s transdimensional loneliness is alleviated. The reason for man’s insatiable curiosity is simple then - it is the basic and universal need for a genuine human connection. 

There is a certain sense of longing that can be felt from the figures in Miguel Paulo Borja's paintings - a sort of bittersweet irony that is a reflection of the human condition; a certain beauty in their tragedy. He paints* scavengers, wanderers and transients, in search of purpose to their being, navigating through a world that looks familiar but feels entirely alien.

Psychonaut is Borja's realization that man is meant to plunge themselves into the depths of darkness, embracing moments of uncertainty and fear. As curiosity dictates, it is after all, man’s nature.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Inevitably Imperfect 2 Group Show

Based on the success of their inaugural exhibition in Bangkok in June 2013 The "Inevitably Imperfect" artist collective is coming together once again.

This July, experience a group exhibition of international scope organized by artists Dexter Sy and Dan Barry, as Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery presents Inevitably Imperfect 2. This exhibition showcases 8 artists and their personal interpretations of the purposely ambiguous theme Inevitably Imperfect - while simultaneously exploring layers of connections that exist within the New Contemporary Art Movement worldwide. Open to the public, the Inevitably Imperfect 2 opening reception starts 6pm on Wednesday, July 29th. Each artist will present multiple artworks that will be installed on two floors of Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery. The exhibition will run until August 15th, 2015.

“While brainstorming with Dexter, the artists that we would like to exhibit with in Inevitably Imperfect – We immediately made a list of artists whose work contained unique personal visions. Often, the works are emotionally charged, soulful and ambiguous in narrative, but full of enough signifiers of meaning for each of us to derive our own meanings from the work. ~ Dan Barry “

The final list of participating artists is diverse – in artistic process, in media, in content, and in personal background. Many of us have known of one another via social media, some of us have exhibited together in the United States and Europe, but this is the 2nd time that we will all show together as a collective – and our 2nd time exhibiting together in Asia. We were excited to see how this unique group of artists would interpret the theme Inevitably Imperfect.

Artists Featured: Dan Barry (USA), Jana Brike (Latvia), Edward Robin Coronel (USA), Jittagarn Kaewtinkoy (Thailand), Niwat Promma / Kai Chickenart (Thailand), Dexter Sy (Philippines), Lynyrd Paras (Philippines), Akira Miyamoto (Japan) 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Involutions by Jel Suarez

There’s something about Jel Suarez’s work that elevates it from mere appropriation into something else entirely. They are fitting depictions of Suarez’s imagination, experiences, and her thoughts. With “Involutions”, Suarez’s first solo exhibition, she has prepared her most ambitious set of works yet. After all, “involution” by definition could refer to intricacy and complexity. 

Every piece found in this collection is mesmerizing in their complexity, not only visually but also in their message. The surreal imagery is not only the product of the repurposing of the source material, but also of deconstructing and reconstructing them. It’s a classic example of making something new out of seemingly disconnected images, but in her pieces, there is an evident sense of mystery and wonder that goes with it, producing surrealist art at its most effective. The seemingly repetitive images almost form a dream-like tableau, a skewed depiction of a world both familiar but also jarringly different. 

With “Involutions”, Jel Suarez has given us a glimpse into her world: a world where classic art is turned on its head and the grotesque, the surreal, and the absurd are commonplace. There is a narrative that exists in all of her works, and “Involutions” is but the latest chapter in this narrative. It is also a waypoint in her artistic journey, showcasing her growth as an artist.

Appropriating and deconstructing image as a form of art may have been done before, but not with the same level of care and thought that Suarez puts into her work. 

While this is her first solo exhibition, there’s a confidence to Suarez’s work that should put people on notice. For Jel Suarez, art is a means for her to release all her frustrations and anxieties. And to that end, “Involutions” is akin to an exorcism in collage form. 

Double Feature Group Show

It's tacky, nauseating, yet such a shameful delight to watch. Insane,
bizarre, yet feeds our curiosity with brightness and comforting
horror. These oddball cult favorites contact the senses and
fascination of young artists Tyang, Quatro, Bins Palma, Wani and

These vivid eyed five take on their cultographies and represent
significant film features to similarly double such harmony and
perception that it has. Goonies, Mars Attacks, Perfume, The Virgin
Suicides, Ghost World. These cult classic choices depict its memorable
film occurences for its weight.

As visual composers this is similar to their crafting that every
apparent minor detail is relevantly stitched together with great care
to create the fabric of their work. The reality that it imposes is
underappreciated that sometimes defects and failures bear instead of
triumphs. We ignore the great opportunity when we lose compassion and
discipline. There is not a bunch of shifts to take. In the end we all
have to write our ending.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

You Are Here by Everywhere We Shoot

Curated by Everywhere We Shoot

Ara Asuncion / Acid House Post / Adam David / Aeon Barrameda / Aj Dimarucot / Amelie Vivas / Angelo Estrella / Anton Belardo / Apol Sta Maria / Archie Geotina / Bahagski (JP) / Bjorn Calleja / Brent Sabas / Broke / Carina Santos / Cenon Norial III / Charles Buenconsejo / Costantino Zicarelli / Crajes (Spain) / Dan Matutina / Dex Fernandez / Don Djerassi Dalmacio / Edrick Bruel / Electrolychee / Erick Encinares / Ernest Concepcion / Erwin Romulo / Ge Madriaga Mapa / Gerardo Tan / Geric Cruz / Harriet Tromeur (Paris) / Heima / Imagine Nation Studios / Inksurge / Isabel Santos / Jake Verzosa / Jayson Oliveria / Jeffrey Jay Arnan Jarin / Jel Suarez / Jigger Cruz / Joey Samson / Johanna Helmuth / JP Cuison / Jujiin Samonte / Jun Sabayton / Juvi Mae Ang / Karen Pimentel / Kris Abrigo / Leeroy New / Lena Cobangbang / Lendl Arvin / Lobregat Balaguer / Luis Antonio Santos / Lynyrd Paras / Maco Custodio / Mads Adrias / Mariano Ching / Marie Gan / Mark Salvatus / May Ann Licudine / Melvin Mojica / Micaela Benedicto / MM Yu / Neasden Control Centre (UK) / Nathalie Dagmang / Neil Pasilan / Nelle Vizmonte / Ness Sheen / Nicole Tee / Nimu Muallam / Oca Villamiel / Paolo Lim (AU) / Paulo Castro / Pow Martinez / Raffy Napay / Rabbithole Creatives / Ralph Mendoza / Ramon Vizmonte / Reese Lansangan / Rin Estrella / Rob Cham / Robert Alejandro / Romeo Lee / Ryan Villamael / Sanya Smith / Sharon See / Soleil Ignacio / Soler Santos / Sunshine Reyes / Tammy David / Tanya Villanueva / Team Manila / Teo Esguerra / The Greenhouse Project / Tinay Villamiel / Tokwa Peñaflorida / Tyang Karyel / Vernon Perez / Victoria Velasco / Yasmin Sison / Yeo Kaa / Yusaku Kawamura (JP) / Yvette Tan / Zean Cabangis / Zeus Bascon

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Skywalker Benefit Exhibit

Featured artists include:

Soler Santos / Luis Santos / Dexter Sy / Dennis Bato / Miguel Paulo Borja / Anjo Bolarda / Jood Clarino / Renz Bautista / Rendy Dela Cruz / Iya Consorio / Andres Barrioquinto / Edric Go / Bjorn Calleja / Ren Quinio / Chalk Zaldivar / Yeo Kaa / Johanna Helmuth / Levin Paras / Erick Villaruz / Joyce Ignacio / Tano Panaligan / Dennis Gonzales / Aiya Balingit / Roy Rosatase / Jett Osian / Gian Miroe / Kiko Urquiola / Mark Alexis Toñacao / Whooop / Dennis Gonzales / Roberto Sanchez / Gabby Tiongson

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Urban Modifications by Rai Cruz

Seize The Daze

Photography has always been embroiled in the question of impropriety: what is it that you seize, that you catch in a frozen frame, other than what is expected, if not what is obvious? 

Living within social media the discussion has become more complex, where the photography of daily life is about the creation of a perfected self, one defined by objects and moments deemed unique, or special. This is of course a delusion in itself, where the task of capture is about engaging a public via likes | shares | hashtags – asserting a relationship between one experience and another, effectively dissolving the specificity of experience into the creation of a virtual community.

If social media is the medium through which this crisis has been revealed, it is urbanity that cradles this disconnect between normalized (over-)shared experience and photography as individual expression. Contemporary urban development has created a financially mobile and technologically adept sector that lives this contradiction, oblivious to its toxic by-product: the dishonest re-presentation of individual lives and the creation of community premised on unstable commonality.

The task of capture is now not only improper. Photography of the everyday has become an act of boorishness, a vulgar display of one’s life in pictures. Imbued with new meaning and functionality by the one taking photos and the community that (dis-)agrees, the photographic subject is systematically decontextualized and necessarily disrespected.

Urban Modifications interrogates this state of affairs, revealing what these photographed objects ultimately become. Tourist attractions (tarsier, the eagle, the maya bird), everyday objects (a piggy bank, the lucky cat Maneki Neko, a camera, a gun) and subjects (a cat, the heart), and food (a hamburger, isaw on a stick, a mango) are exposed as nothing but disjointed parts. The artist’s signature wayward eye, nuts and bolts, innards and entrails, plants and flowers recreate these non-photographs, where all that is left of an object is its shape.

The critique is clear: the personal social media gallery is made up not of images that do justice to living, but of chaotic assemblages that reveal urbanity’s remains. This is what we use to define “us.” This is who we are. 

Welcome to this city, where we seize the daze. 

-- Katrina Stuart Santiago, May 2015.

Jeremyville in Manila

Jeremyville is a New York based artist with an Architecture degree from Sydney University. He has done collaborations with Nike, Mercedes, LeSportsac, MTV, Disney, Swatch, Diesel, Adidas and recently Uniqlo.

Aside from showcasing his work in numerous galleries around the world, Jeremyviile has exhibited at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg, La Casa Encendida Museum in Madrid, the Madre Museum in Napoli, Colette in Paris, Cappellini in NYC, the 798 Arts District in Beijing, and is in many private collections around the world. Steven Heller, Editor at the New York Times, selected Jeremyville for his book 100 Best Illustrators in the world, by Taschen.

Sa Mata Ng Ating Kamalayan by Dennis Bato

Ang pisikal na kaaunyuan ng mga bagay na unang yumayakap sa ating pang-unawa ay napakalaking salik sa kung paano natin tignan ang lahat sa ating paligid, mga tao, mga bagay at higit sa lahat, kung pano tayo mamumuhay batay sa antas ng pamantayan na sumasaklaw sa ating lipunan.

Ang ilusyon na ating ginagalawan ay inilalatag sa atin ng panahon tulad na lamang ng palaisipang tumatakbo sa isipan ng mga tao, ang kinamulatang pamantayan na isa sa mga unang inuusig ng ating pang matang kamalayan.ano ba ang estetika o kagandahan? Nakakadagdag ba ito sa importansya ng isang bagay o tao? Sino ba ang nagdidikta nito? ang ating utak ba o nakakaapekto ang mga taong nakapalibot sa atin? mga artistang napapanuod natin sa telebisyon? Mga makabagong siyensyang kasangkapan na nakikita natin sa mga malalaking lathalaan sa kalsada? Mga usong kasuotan na nakikita natin sa "Internet"?

Ang sumusukob na maskara sa ating pagkatao ang unang nakikita ng mga mata ng mga nakapaligid, ang pisikal na kaanyuan na nagbibigay ng panguna’t huling hatol ng tao sa ating pagkatao. Ang mga tao ay likas na mapanghusga sa biswal na aspeto o kaanyuan dahil ito ang isa sa unang nahahagip ng ating pandama, inuunahan ng ating mga isipan ang pagbasa sa katangian ng mga ito base sa una nating nakita.

Ang indibidwal na persepsyon ng tao ang nagbibigay ng halaga sa mga nakikita nito, ang pagkakaiba-iba sa pagunawa ng tao ang sumasalamin sa interpretasyon ng importansya ng mga bagay bagay. Tayo ang nagbibigay ng paliwanag sa pangkabuohan na aspeto ngunit tayo lang din ang may hawak sa kung paano natin ipapakita sa ibang tao ang kahalagahan ng mga bagay sa paraan kung paano natin gusto nila maunawaan ito, sa pamamagitan ng pagbukas ng ating mga isipan, ang susi sa mata ng ating kamalayan.

“Sa mata n gating kamalayan” (In the eyes of our consciousness) question the invisible boundaries which our eyes and minds set base on what the typical society portray. The artist showcased 2d paintings given a different dimension with the use of stereoscopic 3d lenses to view the final imagery.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

What Have I Done? by Roberto Sanchez


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley (1849–1903).

The exhibit is entitled “What Have I Done” and showcases a compilation of mini portraits that in turn, serves as synergy for the centerpiece on display, a 6 x 10 foot mural entitled “In My Mind’s Eye”. The highlight of the event is a live stop action photo presentation depicting Danger bringing this Titanic creation to life on canvass.

Initial reactions for this main body of work have been quite diverse. On one end, the piece depicts what goes on in a person’s mind- mixed emotions, memories, passion, creativity and the “darker side” as it all interacts within one’s psyche. A portal is injected to illustrate the “light” at the end of the tunnel - reality. Others feel that this work is more of an awakening similar to after a person’s drunken stupor, a hangover  of sorts with vague, yet bold and somewhat convoluted memories of a previous overdone revelry. This is the “crash”, the time when a person is going straight back down to Earth.

At the show, you can provide your own take. You decide.

This collage is testament to the continued growth of Danger Sanchez as an artist. To quote Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith almost three decades past –“In my mind’s eye, one little boy, one little man. Funny how, time flies….”

Family Affair by Ren Quinio

Anti-Scrambler Scrambler by Pow Martinez

“I am not an artist, i am a sewage worker.
I paint my inner landscape.
I work with reality, but I dont like reality
I work with rules and limitations
working with time limits,
working less than 2 hours.
I dont paint everyday.”

“In telecommunications, a scrambler is a device that transposes or inverts signals or otherwise encodes a message at the transmitter to make the message unintelligible at a receiver not equipped with an appropriately set descrambling device. Scrambling is accomplished by the addition of components to the original signal or the changing of some important component of the original signal in order to make extraction of the original signal difficult.”

Artists are usually ascribed the role of being a transmitter of reality. But to purport what sort of reality this is has to be defined or determined for the works that an artist makes is themselves a reality of its own as possessed of matterness with its own logic of pictorial plasticity. Some of these gets lost in translation, not because the transmitting device or language used is faulty, but more probably on the subjective bias of each individual viewer, which is another reality altogether. German poet Heinrich Blϋcher asserts that artists don’t really paint reality, not because it’s unnecessary making it redundant or that we’ve gone beyond the mimetic function of art, but rather the artist creates metaphors to perpetuate myths of the supposed qualities of form, in and of itself. Even the supposed “real” is merely reduced form, making them into non-things (as purely pictorial) to make them only conveyors of experience.

And what is to be experienced ? But the actual viewing of the art, and underneath that if it’s made apparent, the process of its making, as Pow had shown an accumulated suite of drawings done for three years, where some were studies for other paintings that had been previously exhibited, aside from the two paintings that are duplicates, or paintings in stereophonic – one in mono, the other in vivid Technicolor. Both titled Aesthetic Police, with 2 clay creatures blasting fire in a camouflage pattern field amidst a rain of regular broken white lines, it’s a play on reversals and suspension of belief, but they’re probably made so out of mirth for the absurd, the funneled dregs of so-called ‘reality’, multiplied and amplified, to drive the point, of not making a point, if there need be a policing still of what is and shouldn’t be seen or pictured. The limits and rules are largely self-regulated, yet within what the senses can fathom. Someone should tell this to real life aesthetic police Long Beach Police Department officer Asif Kahn who relegates as part of his duty rendering aesthetic judgment on pictures taken in Long Beach (as the cause of detention for photographer Sander Roscoe Wolff

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Anyo by Blic

Anyo, Tagalog for appearance, is a unique portrait of urban stories narrated with an inimitable visual language and icon. Blic’s icon- the hand- depicts life and the belief that every life is a story yearning to be told underpins Anyo’s message. By blurring the boundaries between real and imagined as well as perception and perceived, Anyo invites us to identify with a remarkable twenty-first century selfie. Blic’s second gallery exhibit is a significant milestone in a journey borne out of near paralysis and despair. He is a self-taught artist who, like Basquiat and perhaps all other artists, does not think of art when he is painting-but tries to think about life. And he likes to paint on streets. Blic’s inspiration appears varied and bewildering- growing up anxieties, the mundane struggles of life in a “megapolis”, an overgrown playground, a gummy-bear, furry animals or a strawberry smoothie? Regardless, the artworks depict near perfect geometry with attention to height, width and depth. The many forms do not ignore the proportions of skeletal structure- still or moving. As the eye in Anyo#7, with careful mix of color, the artist masterfully adheres to the rigors of light and shade. Anyo unapologetically violates conventions of specific genres. Blic has confidently placed on canvas his vivid imagination and style- demonstrating his maturity as an artist. He has charted his own course and shown that- in Picasso’s words- “If you imagine it, it is real”. To some, at first glimpse, Anyo may appear an eyesore- unworthy of a second glance. Yet Anyo asks the viewer to look again. The artworks challenge the limits of perception as it pushes us to see ourselves and others in the everyday- at a particular place or time. Anyo encourages us to shift our gaze away from the billboards and the handhelds. The blank areas on the canvas are for the viewer to fill in.

Anyo disrupts our self-perception and judgment. Perhaps Anyo#1 says “Shit Happens”. However, by asking the viewer to interpret, Blic says “Shit” does not matter- you do. Anyo uncompromisingly peels away the layers of character and masks- is Anyo#2 a Filipina beauty or lustful lover? And paradoxically, whilst jarring our conscience, Anyo provides an escape from life’s stark realities. Anyo helps understand better the process of creativity as a biological tendency and as a release from inner demons. In doing so, the artworks are not out of place anywhere. Anyo#4 – typhoon or Pasig bathers?- may belong in a child’s bedroom, in a gallery and on the streets. Like graffiti, the artworks do not beg for legitimacy and inclusion- the viewer may find Anyo#6 beneath the sign ‘BAWAL UMIHI DITO’, buffered subsequently by Barangay officials and the ‘vandals’ reprimanded. With Anyo, Blic presents a splashing, clanging, banging, groaning, screeching, thump-thumping, thud-thudding and sometimes silent visual ode to Manila’s inhabitants. Reminding us that they- not the neon, glass, concrete, metal and spaces- are its soul.

Before you walk on by, stop for another look.

-Jeetendra Marcelline

Seduction of the Innocent by Skinner

Over the last two months I have been working on paintings for my show at Vinyl On Vinyl in Manila, Philippines. 10 paintings that were to combine my love of silver age comics, the aesthetic style of it influenced from different kinds of comics at the time of the silver age. A little before or after as well, KIRBY/DITKO bombast and action, E.C. Comics creepiness and sci fi weirdness as well as pre silver age stuff of the likes of L.B Cole.

I set out to do some weird comic book panel art that would be fun and easy to do for the show in Manila. It was fun and indulgent even, but something happened as I was painting these.. I was listening to Jack KIRBY interviews on YouTube and after I listened to all of those I was referred to Alan Moore interviews and grant Morrison interviews. The Jack KIRBY interviews fascinated me because I love Jack Kirby and what he has done is sort of mentor me from beyond the grave by providing the most incredible example of blue collar work ethic not to mention how weird and impressive and beautiful his imaginings always are. He’s not called the king for nothing.

Well the Alan Moore and Grant Morrison interviews really set my mind off into a kind of interest in the psycho mental and spiritual involvement that creativity can invoke. A sort of journey beyond the normal dimensions of story concepts and art as an imaginative astronaut willing to take on a mental freedom no matter how bizarre it could be. A few Alan Moore interviews really got me thinking about how important socially active and antagonistic art is. That it is at its best when it is for the people, not the status quo standard of self-congratulating upper art echelons not available to the average joe. It renewed my sense of this, although my modus operandi is to put my art in the hands of anyone if I can.

I then was in a mutational stage of silver age comic book social antagonism, which is ridiculous enough but then I started on the Robert Anton Wilson and Terrence Mckenna interviews. Which completed my journey by bolstering my love of the absurd and the freedom it brings by overthrowing any current form of social niceties and standards as well as kind of opening my mind to the spiritual shift that human beings are capable of spiritual awakening through drugs and consciousness. So of course whatever paintings I was working on by the time I was listening to Terrence McKenna, were completely taking an aggravated stance towards mentally inhibiting institutions, the church, military industrial complexes, etc.

Of course I had to buy a couple of ounces of mushrooms so I could take them when I get back from my trip over seas. Summer is good for hiking and spirit morphing! Haha!! So as I was painting this batch of weird paintings, I realized that a lot of what I was commenting on in these paintings were very Americanized themes and concepts, some emotional and some political. I then thought of how the show was in the Philippines, which is a country that I hear loves aspects of our western culture. I thought of Fredric Wertham who wrote a book called " Seduction of the innocent" in 1954, which all but destroyed the comic book industry in the late 50's. It put EC comics out of business, and the book claimed that comic books were influencing children with horrific themes and violence to be terrible, twisted future criminals. It struck me that what really turns us into twisted versions of what could actually be, a peaceful beautiful organic occurrence on earth, are our warlike behaviors, our social conditioning and standards, our subjugation and mental enslavement via stupid religions of ourselves and others. (There’s a lot more to touch on but let's stick with only a few for now) Comic books don't make for a shitty world. People doing the same dumb shit for generations and continuing the stupidity and lazy minded selfishness because we are addicted to things that work for us as an individual but put others back. We can't evolve if only a couple of people can afford it.

So I named the show "Seduction of The Innocent", an art show of my wacky and critical commentary on some of our collective struggles as well as social/political institutions that I think will never get enough spankings, and laying it out in my favorite art form style, comic books. It has been an incredibly fun exercise into trying new things and pushing myself to do things I never had the discipline to mess with. (I’m looking at you, insane old timey comic fonts) the show starts on March 25th. A few days after my opening in Japan at Mishka Tokyo, which is where we are showing my new window display/installation for them on March 20th. If anybody can come out and see me I’d love to see your face!

Thank you for reading my long pontificating description on how I arrived in a place of total confusion. -Skinner

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tropes of Expectations by Manuel Ocampo, Javier Arce, Juan Carlos Quintana, Carlo Ricafort, Timo Roter

When Private Ricafort, Private Quintana, Private Arce, Private Ocampo and Private Roter met the first time in 1965 it was the hottest December day in the history of Vietnam. Not knowing that there was no right and wrong they were still fighting with General Nguyen, whose nickname for them was Sgt. Sio-Mai, against the intruders.

The 5 were the only guys digging tunnels that time in Cú Chi, listening to b-52's (the band!) when they accidently hit a wormhole with their shovel which threw them into an alternate universe.
General Nguyen was a wealthy man so he cloned the 5 and sent them back home to their places.
Through the telepathic knowledge the 5 got when they entered the alternate universe they are now able to operate and direct their clones and let them paint what they see in their Galaxy.
After 50 years the original 5 met the first time, they are sending now their clones to Manila to have their first groupshow at Vinyl on Vinyl.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

False Assault by Patch Quinto

Usually after spending academic years, whether you've failed it or not, questions raised about life and how to live it, transforming learning to mainly just earning, bringing yourselves toward the promise of what has been subliminally dictated to you as "the good life".

You wake up, you check your clock. As a weird sedating consciousness latches onto your head, with its central incisors making its way to your cranium as it tears your thin scalp. Your jaws lock, eyes  twitch as a rapid sequence of images is about to enter your automated condition in the mundane fills your brain. Struggling with routines, tangled between the weaves of work assigned to you as a peons in the service to whatever company you are tied to, striving for each quota-per day required, flowing in a unison as a member of the labor force. You drown in your right thoughts and clouded judgement as you try to live up to this striking consciousness that crossed your mind and you find it impossible to mobilize because of the uncertainty of where this consciousness would lead you.

It's Patcho's second solo exhibition, the expansion of consciousness appears to be malignant in offering us severed details in relation to what he encounters as an active participants of the labor force. Unsettled though limitations and confinements defined his job as a graphic designer for websites a continuous progression on his art practice results to a non-secular type of production that includes basic elements composed of repetitive lines, shapes and outburst of colors illuminates multi-layers of amalgamated images creating a monotony of satirically animate/inanimate subjects. The inclusion of popular visual tropes draws his viewer towards analyzing Patch's critique about the effect of popular media in a larger spectrum. Anatomically grotesque representation of dissected human flesh raises discussions and coherent inquiries of the basis of questioning human perception and behavior. Moreover, his familiarity of using lines as a continuous transgression from each subject to another consistently projects the whole series of works.

Importantly, lest we forget the artist exhibition of his recent works must be examined in acquiring his own solutions on his capabilities in transforming significant observations and progresses based on his daily routines rooted in his art-making. It's not product itself produced as a graphic designer or as an artist but how he manages and still enjoy to co-exist between to similar dichotomies.

Art Unfair At The Leenk by Romeo Lee

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pieta by Tokwa Penaflorida and Mayi

The bond between mother and child is bound by the instinct of nurturing. It is the core of all things living, from the conception of galaxies to the most minute organisms. It is eternal, bypassing death, like a piece of art that continues to inspire people through time.  
Michaelangelo’s, La Pietà, inspired mother-and-son artists Mayi and Tokwa Peñaflorida to illustrate the bond between mother and child and to juxtapose it to the concept of creating art in their two-man show, Pietà. Mayi, whose influences include John William Waterhouse and William-Adolphe Bouguereau, twists the classical style with contemporary form, morphing the human anatomy: enlarged heads frame oversized and glimmering eyes, svelte necks and limbs, clothed in an intricately detailed drapery. With the works of Gustav Klimt and Alphonse Mucha as his inspiration, Tokwa maintains the dark, dreamy, and romantic qualities of his paintings in which he is known for.
The two artists’ style, although starkly different from each other, converge as they explore the softness and caring nature of motherhood. Their main piece, Pieta, is a reinterpretation of Michaelangelo’s famous sculpture and is the cord that holds their show afloat. Mayi painted Christ, while Tokwa painted Mary—the son painting the image of the mother, and the mother painting the image of the son. This creation process is a symbolic illustration of their concept, the mother who conceived and gave birth to her child, is a part of her, and it is her that truly sees—feels—the suffering of her child. Same as with the son, who was nurtured and cared for by his mother, and has an astronomical emotional connection with her. 
The creation process of any artist—writers, sculptors, painters—is similar to a mother who carries a child in her womb. The artist’s womb is his brain, where the concept is the unborn child, nurturing it with his observation of the world, his visions, and inspirations. He feels the strongest attachment to it, as it is his, made by his own synapses and neurons and emotions. As he executes his art, on paper or marble or canvas, he delivers his child into the world. And at that point, his child is no longer entirely his—it is now for the world to see, and for the world to nurture. He becomes physically parted from his child, forever.
However, this feeling of loss, solidifies the unseen, maternal bond. Pietà by Mayi and Tokwa Penaflorida is not a representation of this—it an incomplete experience, where the audience is given space to conceive.