PAULO VINLUAN

PARABOLA

Parabola plots on an open plan a series of instances --- seizing fleeting moments of a certain timeline riddled with histories, fictions, mundanities and explorations. Through animation and sculptural objects, Paulo Vinluan experiments with presenting symmetrical movement from one point, one moment to the next. His collage of hand-made imageries drawn from old tales and mythologies loop infinitely, shifting beginnings and denying endings. Still in a diaristic manner, he shapes imagined spaces for new associations and stories to unfold --- creating in the process timeless narratives that divert from linearity.

RODOLFO GAN

PRISM 2

Rodolfo Gan’s second solo exhibition at Finale Art File is a continuation of his series of geometric abstractions. Using airbrush as his signature method for his square abstract paintings, his works evoke the lightness, balance and transparency of pure geometric lines and forms. Described as ‘timeless and dynamic, critical and introspective, but always forward looking’, his works reflect on the traditions of Modernism and its pursuit of the transcendental and the sublime. 

 

In his paintings, the fine mists of gradient color give way to decisive lines and rugged edges that fold into labyrinthine and box-like structures that conjure ineffable emotional and mental landscapes. Gan draws from the works of three pioneers in Philippine modern art: Fernando Zobel, Lee Aguinaldo and Roberto Chabet, whose works opened windows for many young artists in the 70s and other succeeding generations. He shared Zobel’s fascination with the shifting qualities of light and color expressed through soft lines, as well as Aguinaldo’s linearity and geometry of vanishing fields. Zobel and Aguinaldo’s works charted the course of abstraction within the language of painting and surface compositions. Chabet, on the other hand, extended this discourse through the use of readymades and other non-traditional materials for art and their relation to space, site and context. 

 

From this triumvirate of artistic impulses, Gan has defined his own parameters, creating personal configurations that are enduring as much as they are elusive in nature. 

 

(Ringo Bunoan)

NIKKI OCEAN

Fools' Paradise

Is the calm meditation app free? How much does 10 Happier cost? How much is the Calm App? Is Headspace or Calm better? What is Happify App? - 11 Chic-As-Hell Fitness Studios Just Made For Instagram - 10 Tips to Take Epic Underwater Wildlife Selfies - How to Instagram Your Beach Vacation Like an It Girl - *Bali cracks down on ‘bikini selfies’ at Hindu temples: local religious leaders outraged at holiday makers’ disrespect for revered sites - 19 Glorious Butt Selfies You Have to See to Believe - How To Take The Perfect Butt Selfie For The Ass Man In Your Life* 

 

Many animals like sloths and koalas don’t like being held; being carried around to pose for selfies could cause them great amounts of distress. What's more, many such animals are taken from their natural habitat and traded in exploitative ways so that people can take selfies on holiday. Two American men have been arrested for posting a photo on Instagram revealing their butts at Wat Arun, a Buddhist temple in Bangkok. Running an Instagram account called the Traveling Butts, they post photos of themselves with their pants pulled down around the world. The account had over 14,000 followers. They remain in police custody even after paying a fine of 5,000 baht ($150 USD) each, and could face up to seven years in prison. 

 

So, to prepare you for your beach vacation, we have gathered the best Beach Instagram Captions for your photos: High tides, good vibes. Sea you soon. Beach days always. Salty but sweet. Girls just wanna have sun. Happiness comes in waves. You are the piña to my colada. (To Yoga Selfie, Or Not To Yoga Selfie? — THAT is the question.) Enjoy your stay at Fools’ Paradise!

ALFREDO ROCES

100 Still Life Paintings 1947-2019, A Retrospective

Still life—that once humble genre of painting—is now an assertive force of figuration, attuned to the times. With humanity’s loss of faith on grand narratives, objects present themselves as epigraphs of intimacy, the telltale evidence of a life: a fruit cut open by a seaside balcony, a pair of stilettos against a darkened window, the preparatory ingredients of a meal. Alfredo Roces, who has devoted himself to attending to the small-scale, the ordinary, the magisterially short-lived, paints with the devotion of a poet. He is not merely an illustrator of objects, but a singer of shapes and surfaces. At once elegies and odes, his works both praise and lament the intractable lives of perishable things. 

 

Each painting is a life stilled in the attention of the moment, kissed with light or exuding its own glow. Seen from different vantage points, the object as subject crystallizes perception. We see them as the artist wishes us to see: the glinting crown of apples, the luminous seeds of papaya crowding the fruit, the shadowed mouths of vases. And yet, something else transpires, how the figure and the ground circle together to become an almost continuous shimmering plane. It is as if the object activates the space around it. Perhaps, the opposite is also true: the space rushes toward the object as some kind of magnetic pull. The variegated blue, for instance, that surrounds a hibiscus, charges the luscious bloom with something akin to electricity. 

 

A retrospective of still lifes Roces painted in the span of seven fruitful decades, the exhibition is a veritable archive of life’s plenitude that is held, eaten, celebrated, seen up close, or admired from a distance. As viewers, we are invited to a banquet of objects whose forms are apperceived and what we see is the essential quality of the thing. This is Alfredo Roces’ moveable feast.

 

Carlomar Arcangel Daoana

MUCHI LAO

Split Second

Muchi Lao’s talent of impulse, reaction to instinct, and chance voyeur precede his lens. His cameras mainly serve as accomplices to stake out, observe and eventually catch the perfect prey of an interesting-enough subject matter. He appreciates stillness but with the condition of purpose. Often he locks in a target that offers either the finest intrigue, or an inimitable movement pattern: the mercurial moment as his subject is seized in the fluidity of time – even in its most organically ephemeral cycle of composition and decomposition. It is in the same transitory state of affairs found in his daily ‘discovery trails’ along with its incidentals that affords Lao huge traction over his everyday capture. 

 

For Split Second, the inspiration is more deeply rooted in past events and experiences from which personal sketches have emerged: “To some perspective, I’ve learned that nothing seems to stick anymore, or lasts long enough to establish connections and authenticities. One can easily be dismissed before really understanding, or proving anything at all. There is a load of reality on taking years to build something and yet only have seconds to waste everything.” Lao’s indistinct imagery depicted in this recent series of photographs particularly with Speed In Slow Motion, On The Clock and Before These Crowded Streets portray hints and vestiges of hurried everyday life, almost revealing and perhaps insinuating, both shortage of stillness and copious cacophony with humanity dissolving into ambiguity. “Every second counts for many of us living and unintentionally disappearing within city congestion, in the same manner, we also miss moments of joy and pleasure as well as the big picture. We simply survive everyday madness just to meet demands, keep up with social media, toil tirelessly until we slowly dissipate into sad clichés and lose time for many things that are more meaningful. Everything just seems to fade in a blur,” Lao illuminates further. 

 

Though one thing remains clear, Lao’s streak of artistry from his painting days at the University of the Philippines in Diliman has carried over to his photographs – showing visible threads of chiaroscuro as though monochromatic brush strokes, evidently exhibited by his haunting loners: Ghost, Last Seen and Day Off. Meanwhile, If I’ll Ever See You Again proves his preference for black and white contrasts over color charisma: “One does not normally see in two tones, but through the facets of light and shadow I witness real emotions expressed without the distraction of kaleidoscopic pigment. I get a more straightforward sense of drama and a real narrative, which allow me a more explorative arena,” he describes. 

 

Split Second is one story with a set of side tales – of jaded and nearly lost souls; of seemingly endless predictability; of seeking redemption from routine, or liberation from life’s perfunctory labor; of missed opportunities; of unfinished business; of the need to pause. In Lao’s eyes, these time-lapsed occasions, mere instances, and short-lived affairs are enough for a split-second snap, to paint a real picture of an incredibly accelerated pace some call life.

 

Asha Macam

LYNYRD PARAS

Wail From the Backdoor

Disassembling, death, decay—the self’s ultimate destiny. It is Lynyrd Paras’ preoccupation, the mortal limits of the body. And the body, it self, even if still alive (presumably) leaks, wastes away, putrefies—a clean hole in the head. Body parts are fragmented, anatomized for all the world to see. “This is me, this is the body that you used to love.” Everywhere there is an impending threat of annihilation. Even love is a knife to the wrist, a rope, a gun already pointed to the heart. Love is death, and death is its own reward. A flash of small light from a car tumbling into abyss. The eyes open but seeing nothing. The bliss of oblivion. The forever darkness. 

 

Paras’ art is his suicide note. He paints people not as an artist but the one cursed. He knows your wounds and the depths of those wounds because there is always an ax lodged in his brain. From the backdoor, he wails. The cry is one continuous expenditure of the energy of the soul. But you will not hear him, because the turntable is spinning, the music is loud, and the bullets drop to the floor like loose change. What you see in the end is the coffin in the middle of the room. Concrete, it is difficult to move. The pieces of evidence of a life jut out: trophies broken and now ultimately meaningless, foils of antidepressant, a cellphone. A pair of glasses. The implements of murder, of art. 

 

Art and death, is there much of a difference? This is the final resting place of all sorrow and all happiness. Even death is a visitor bearing flowers. This is the wish not to be seen, not to be touched. Lynyrd Paras has long left the building. And he doesn’t want you to cry.

 

Carlomar Arcangel Daoana

BEMBOL DELA CRUZ

LABELED.

Despite its trend in the last few years, the stigma of having tattoos remains. Often correlated to prison culture, carriers of these markings are easily presupposed to be immoral and malign. Bembol Dela Cruz's latest series Labeled assembles depictions of friends and colleagues who sport sleeve tattoos, as a manner of diverting the usual practice of portraiture that focuses on faces. With each imprint carrying its on narrative, the permanency of ink on skin reveals more about the person than that has of faces --- an awareness that has brought the artist to emphasize each unique design exclusively carried by these individuals.

 

The redundancy of gas masks while facing to the left parallels the societal fallacy of condescending sameness among people who have tattoos. As though a form of toxicity, the conventional view of modified bodies still receive fear, apprehension and distress, as though physical taint deserves smearing of the person where judgement precedes any possibility for introduction and even engagement. For its bearers, the stereotyping brings forth suffocation, as though unable to be seen even as human. Paired to the paintings is a wall-bound wood cut-out that resemble the experience of getting tattoos, where pain intensity fluctuates from the moment the needle touches one's dermis to the point the design is realized. Highlighting the reality of physicality for such sessions and the endurance required to achieve its beauty shows the gravity and seriousness of the markings.

 

Beyond aesthetics, tattoos speak deeply of one's struggles, beliefs, histories and presents; they are chronicles of moments and impressions of selves concretely committed to skin. These stamps of identity, in its intricacy and spaces, speak volumes of the person beneath it.

 

(Iris Ferrer)

HENRIELLE PAGKALIWANGAN

Timestamps

Henrielle Baltazar Pagkaliwangan continues her fascination with Manila Bay as viewed from the Association of Pinoyprintmakers (AP) studio located at the Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas, formerly known as the Folk Arts Theater. Almost completely surrounded by land, Manila Bay serves as the womb for maritime activities and important events in history. It is also known for its scenic views which are captured and reproduced over and over again that it has become a part of our collective memory. Each print in this series shows the breakwater and the dock stretching out into the bay as buildings and vessels seem to sink below the horizon. At sundown, these structures glint in the night sky as light reflects off the dark waters.

 

Both sky and water are subject to the whims of the sun as their color changes at different times of the day: sunrise, sunset, night, and the moments in between. Henrielle recreates this panoramic view of Manila Bay with its famous Manila skyline multiple times while applying gradations of color to evoke varying tone and mood. She employs drypoint, a printmaking technique in which the image is scratched into the surface of a plate—in this case, an acrylic sheet—with a hard-point needle. Using this technique is a matter of course for Henrielle whose pen and ink and watercolor drawings, with their fine lines and soft details, exude the qualities found in these prints.

 

With the arresting image of the natural harbor recorded at specific times of the day, Timestamps is a meditation on the fleeting nature of time. Small in scale for a subject matter as vast and iconic as Manila Bay, these works serve as personal mementos of a shared experience among members of the AP, who also respond to their artmaking as a communal practice within and beyond the space of their studio. Printmaking, the art of reproducing text and images using a template, is akin to the act of remembering—a series of repetitions laced with subtle nuances over time.

 

(W. L. Guzmanos)

AYKA GO

Ephemeral Landscapes

When painters paint landscapes it often takes two distinct directions. In one, the details are heightened, magnified. Every blade of grass seemingly visible, every reflection of light rendered, the surfaces of rock, soil, and sea captured in minutiae. In the other, the landscape loses its detail. The marks of nature give way to expressive marks of the brush, or to abstract dimensions of color, form, and line. Eschewing the environment’s textural densities, Ayka Go opts for the latter in her solo exhibition entitled Ephemeral Landscapes.

 

This current set of works reveals a continued engagement with paper, a sensitivity aligned with the rendering of the material’s tears and folds in paint. In one aspect, the paintings are a record of visual impressions, culled from the artist’s travels via train in other countries. In the past, rail-based transportation provided new perspectives of the land. The speed and swiftness by which one traveled over the surface of the earth, unencumbered by the limitations of human and animal legs, lent itself to fresh geographical imaginings.

 

But in our current period, such vistas from a window has become more commonplace. In lieu of novelty, the passing landscape became conjurer of reveries and reflections. It transformed into a layered ephemera: an overlap of a place glimpsed too briefly, and the relentless thoughts – sometimes troubled, oftentimes anxious, almost always quotidian—that beset our existence. And yet, despite their perfunctory apparitions, these sights often provide reprieve; their distance a source of comfort for the perturbed.

 

Perhaps it is part of their nature, untethered as they are from the complications we often find in the places where we are rooted. The passing landscape is weightless. It shimmers in its strangeness. Beheld at a time of personal unsettling, Go reimagines them unanchored from the density of detail, from the concrete gravity of daily life. She finds respite in their surfaces. In these works, you may flit and flicker along the landscape’s creased inflections, or drop inconsequentially between the layers.

 

(J.C. Rosette)

JEONA ZOLETA ft. EMMANUEL D'ABOVILLE

Filling a cup with wine to chase the dragon in me

Jeona Zoleta begins with a myriad of things: Lucretius' De Rerum Natura, the Japanese tradition of Ikebana or "way of flowers", the book The Jazz of Physics by Stephen Alexander, the Disney movie Anastasia, and several other television series. As she traverses the path through domesticity and motherhood, she returns to her anchor in nature and the intoxicating poetry of life. She cites the summer heat in its "intense dryness filled with noisy bugs and the quiet scent of flowers;" feels the motion of the woods as a "soul forming from a seed."

 

In this quotidian frenzy, she creates with her husband a certain quiet, an installative still life, a merging of the dream-like imagery of her paintings with his carpentry and hydrophonics. Much like the process of Ikebana, one that they both shared as they prepared the decorations for their life together, there comes a semblance of settling down and arranging the world --- with one's past adventures and behaviors --- the way one imagines it to be. Her new life, literally (re) birthed as she carries her child through this earth, is where she creates slivers of moments for her artistic practice, for her own growth as an individual that is ever mutating and ever evolving but still remains the same.

 

Domesticity, however hectic, has also brought her to a space of solace, focus and clarity. The exhaustion and the lack of time has bred in Zoleta a certain fascination and contentment for the demands of mundanity, the flow of nature, the essence of living. Zoleta's exhibition is a sneak peak for her work at Palais de Tokyo this June.

 

(Iris Ferrer)

PETE JIMENEZ

Oh Baby Baby It's a Wild World

Pete Jimenez’s drive to realize extensive experimentation of materiality and form continues with his latest exhibition Oh Baby Baby It’s a Wild World. His use of a wide range of repurposed media, from steel and ball mills to rubber and leather gathered through the years from various junkshops, takes on new forms as they are re-configured into abstracted art pieces. The materials’ aesthetic transformation aims to highlight its raw and inherent characteristics, keeping intact scratches, rusted fragments and markings. With minimal intervention and driven by intuition, Jimenez allows the media to speak for itself.

 

Although pregnant with history as seen in every trace of discoloration and streak, the materials are also given space to take on new narratives as they are arranged and shaped into novel, imagined and formalistic impressions. This duality produced by the forms is Jimenez’s venture to balance out the testimonies of the medium and the artist’s hand, especially without a direct intent or tale to tell. Seemingly random but fueled by his quotidian realities, his focus instead is on process, materiality and the possibilities of form.

 

(Iris Ferrer)

JAN BALQUIN

When Surfaces Misbehave

Jan Balquin continually disrupts her audience’s preconceived notion on the limitations of an image/object in front of them. In her current works, she attempts to chronicle the image’s physicality, immovability, and materiality. Balquin’s tendencies as a sculptor who creates faux realities with her material of choice has informed her reimagining of the ground on which paintings lie. In each of her works, she tries to blur the line between reality and illusion. As she furthers her inquiry, the audience experiences a gigantic wall enclosed inside a space; a canvas cut-out like a thin sheet of paper; an oil painting without a canvas nor a stretcher that folds and hangs like a piece of cloth; and paintings that start to misbehave.

 

(Lec Cruz)

RANELLE DIAL

Revolves

Ranelle Dial's "Revolves" is a series of paintings and objects that document the process the motions of the earth's rotation. Similar to how a sundial functions, each work presents a portion of time as it moves from darkness to lightness and vice versa. Angled accordingly in 30 degree lapses, every hour in a 12-hr period is chronicled on each image, and is marked more intently through a parallel installation that shows the shifts of shadow and illumination with every turn.

 

Drawing inspiration from Martin Creed's 'Work No. 88' (1995), a crumpled piece of blank A4 paper into a sphere, and Latifa Echakhch's 'Globus' (2007), a print of a crumpled world map, Dial depicts another layer to the subject by translating it through paint on canvas. Formalistically, it turns into a challenge of whether one will be able to capture the same volume despite the change of shape. The pieces are also an extension of her 2014 exhibition titled "Pocket Its", a collection of crumpled manila paper illustration objects and most definitively a stain-like figure of the world map, and of her 2011 exhibitions "Hide Seek and Keep" and "Seek Keep and Hide", a set of oil paintings of various empty receptacles on bare almost eerily serene looking spaces as well as installative versions of maps.

 

This process of concealment and revelation has been a constant point of exploration for Dial, where the quiet becomes an entry point for indefinite questioning. Tension and a sense of anxiety can be felt in the act of creasing and wrinkling. What is intended to be flatly seen and 2-dimensional, as in a map, is obscured --- both hidden and revealed at the same time through folds, dents and creases. Definitive contexts and spaces are also made ambiguous as the act of crumpling literally merges varying parts of the earth. The focus instead moves to chiaroscuro and its imitation of the movement of the earth. Time then becomes the only overarching chronicle of the everyday regardless of standpoint --- a shared experience of the routine in mundanity.

 

(Iris Ferrer)

GUS ALBOR

Encompassing

Gus Albor's latest exhibition Encompassing is an experimental play of contrasts and surfaces. At its center stands a 7ft-high interactive revolving door made of metal and acrylic. Fastened on its acrylic wall is a paper in white, gray and earth tones, while charcoal, sticks and pencils are attached to the door's blade or vertical side.

 

As one enters and the door turns, thick and thin horizontal linear imprints marks the paper --- creating in the process flat abstracted pieces. Parallel to this is a large painting inspired by the structure itself; however, this time, static and steady. This duality in experience allows viewers to see in one space both the dynamic and changing beside the stationary and fixed. The interaction created by the mechanism also breaks the division between artist and spectator as visitors become instrumental in the very generation of the markings on the paper.

 

In its entirety, one is able to witness the possibilities in producing works of minimalist abstraction. Conceptualized in 2012 in MKahoy, Batangas, the piece was a version of Albor's entry to the Venice Biennale four years ago that didn’t proceed due to logistical issues. (Iris Ferrer)

LYRA GARCELLANO

Interventions

The country's first National Artist, Fernando Amorsolo, with his romanticized imagery of the countryside, promoted the prettified depiction of the Philippines as a nation which the West to this day reinforces as the conventional portrayal of the tropics --- sun, smiles and sweetness. With links to patronage that encourages his works to be highly valued in the art market, the Amorsolo brand is also heavily historicized in Philippine art education. He mediated the pastoral as the idyllic --- an often wearisome term used to describe his pictures.

 

My first intervention into the Amorsolo trope was initially demonstrated in the video titled “Tropical Loop” which I introduced at Art Fair Philippines in 2018. In it, I adopted the artist's most popular iconography “Dalagang Bukid” (country maiden) in a diptych that had me in one video slowly and repetitively navigating a rice paddy set against the majestic Mt. Banahaw. The second video offered a counterpoint where I performed the tradition of winnowing rice as I climbed up and down the stairs; it was an action that virtually replaced the “pretty” and instead suggested Albert Camus' Sisyphean act of the classically programmed futility of labor. Here, I propose that even with the impression of nostalgia and so-called beauty, there is a continuing and spiraling crisis.

 

Amorsolo was a painter who reproduced many of his rosy landscapes featuring locals frolicking in green or golden fields in the series “Dalagang Bukid.” He had numerous iterations of his works “Under the Mango Tree,” “Planting Rice,” etc. --- visual tropes that were amplified throughout his career. As further intervention, I replicated some of these iconic works but reduced them to recognizable lines and patches of color. I put forward the idea that what is perceived as the picturesque may now just be faceless and vague visions caught in suspended manual exertions.

LIV VINLUAN

New Paintings

My work is often an attempt to distill the dualities and inconsistencies of human character. In New Paintings, I ruminate, dream, agonize and become haunted by ideas of mothers and daughters, deliquents and debutantes, childbirth and marriage, and of death and defiance all ground and milled in a continuous, endless rotary of pasts, presents and futures.

 

Liv Vinluan was born in 1987 into a family of artists and academicians. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts in 2009. In 2016 her work, Carino Brutal, was Shortlisted for the Ateneo Art Awards Fernando Zobel Prize for Visual Art. In the same year, she was invited and commissioned by the Lopez Museum and Library for the exhibition, Exposition. The commissioned piece, entitled Cabilogan ng Isang Cuadranggulo (The Roundness of A Square) was in turn nominated for the 4th edition of the Asia Pacific Breweries Signature Art Prize. Late last year, Liv was selected as the recipient of the Karen H. Montinola Selection grant for Art Fair Philippines 2019. She lives and works in Rizal, with her husband artist Ian Jaucian.