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.

Stripe by Arkiv Vilmansa

16:26 by Renz Bautista

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Matthew 16:26 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

I wonder if God can grant us to bet our soul in exchange of something we really want. I wonder if someone can make our dreams come true in exchange of our own soul. I wonder if we can exchange it for immortality or god-like power. I wonder if I can sell my soul in exchange of peace. I wonder if I can give my soul in exchange of freedom. I wonder if I can just give my soul in exchange of nothing. I wonder if I can trade my soul in exchange of eternal sleep. I wonder if I can trade my soul to limitless happiness. I wonder if I can wish infinite time in exchange of my soul. I wonder if I can trade someone’s soul in exchange of my wish.

I wish I could trade something else rather than my own soul. I hope I have a soul to trade in exchange of my wish. 

Based on the Bible verse from the book of Matthew, the concept behind Renz Bautista’s first solo show was described by the artist as serendipitous and inspired a deep insight into his personal psyche.

His paintings were borne out of introspection which come to grips with some of life’s most profound questions. His process encouraged a personal dialogue on the trade-offs that we make in our day-to-day lives.
Through his use of layers and layers of paint and paper, he realizes the complexities of these exchanges and hopes to discover clarity amidst the disarray that casts a looming shadow over him.

Born in Cavite yet a pure Bulakenyo, Renz Marrione Bautista is a personification of youth with a heart for art. Bautista is a Fine Arts major in Advertising student of Bulacan State University who has exemplified his skills in different fields. He has topped visual arts competitions like the 4th Cocolife Colors of Life Student Visual Arts Competition – Runner up (College category), 2011 National Student Art Competition (Art Petron) – Grand Prize (T-shirt design) and Semifinalist (Painting category), 43rd Shell National Students Art Competition (NSAC) – 5th honorable mention, 2010 & 2014 Metrobank Art Design Excellence (MADE) – Semifinalist, and, a grandprize winner in the 1st Bulacan State University Painting Contest.

Aside from his artistic excellence, Bautista has contributed in BulSU’s official student publicaton, Pacesetter, as a member for 3 years and the Art Director for his last year. He has won Regional and Luzonwide press competitions in editorial cartooning and comic strip drawing.