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.