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AYKA GO

Play House

Playhouses frequently serve as a stage for imaginative performances, allowing children to create scenarios, act out roles, and dialogue with themselves or others, instilling values such as ownership, accountability, and respect for personal spaces.

 

In her latest solo exhibition, Ayka Go contemplates the evolution of her artistic journey, with a particular focus on the dollhouse as a metaphor for memory. The artist undergoes a self-reflective process of recreating childhood reveries by folding paper into household furnishings, photographing them, and translating the small-scale paper tableaus into expansive canvas paintings. Throughout this meticulous process, the paper house, with all its creases and folds simultaneously conceal and reveal intimate memories.

 

Go's exploration through time leads to a returning towards her artistic origins: derived from an earlier inspired work which incorporated reading, scanning, and folding diary pages, and incorporating written text onto meticulously crafted paper dollhouse and furniture, the exhibition suggests a continuation of her enduring theme and process of reclaiming a personal past, while the inclusion of a table with paper foldings and cutouts re-introduces the audience to the ever-developing present. Indeed, the immediate world is a playhouse that offers adults the opportunity to make reconciliations about the roles we continue to play, and how we engage with others whose private spheres coincide with our own.

 

"Play House" is a moving examination of individual history, recollection, and growth. The artist's maturity is revealed in the existential unfolding from paper dollhouses to a palace of memories, inviting viewers to reflect on their own reminiscences and engage in life's theater.

 

(John Alexis Balaguer)

KEIYE MIRANDA

Opalescent

In Opalescent, one of the exhibitions opening 2024 for Finale Art File, Keiye Miranda presents a suite of works featuring her signature underwater compositions, which the artist has pursued as a thematic experimentation for years now. In its transparency and ability to interact with light and the objects that inhabit it, water for Miranda is a medium with which to suspend reality, a revelatory domain, a transformative element.

 

Interested in how water essentializes things, the artist uses it as a lens to examine found objects—often discarded, obsolete, no longer functional—and reveal their material beauty as well as their inherent usability. The rusting body of a sewing machine, a typewriter, a one-armed drawing figure achieve an otherworldly grace as they shine through the shimmering webs and the opalescent surface of the water. Now underwater, the objects are freed from their literal, objective value, becoming powerful signifiers of what the artist calls as “a visual discourse that is constantly in a state of reshaping, attempting to capture the flux of identities, experiences, thoughts and memories.”

 

Responding to the ongoing rehabilitation of the part of Laguna de Bay in her hometown, Miranda creates a hyper realistic depiction of an aerial view of the lake as it undergoes a massive transformation. Rather than a picturesque view of a scenery, Miranda reveals a deep gash in the landscape, a throng of settlements, and a remarkable sense that something about the lake has been invariably and irreversibly damaged. Two boats bookmark the painting, connoting the lake’s journey “from one state to another where the transience of a fleeting world can be suspended.” A wooden paddle traverses across the work, serving as a a stark reminder of the lake’s long history as primarily a fishing ground for the many communities that surround it.

 

Opalescent offers at once the granular and the grand dimensions of water which, as Miranda reveals, is not a static element, but one that is capable of altering objects and the lives of people that rely on it. In art as it is in life, water clarifies and unifies the fragmented nature of things.

 

(Carlomar Arcangel Daoana)

IYA REGALARIO

Into the Land of Those Who Sleep 

Wide awake and wading through: Into the Land of Those Who Sleep 

In Iya Regalario's new visual epic, the artist continues to make sense of self and society through her signature storytelling medium: pyrography and ink on wood. Marking the 10th year since her first solo show, Into The Land Of Those Who Sleep serves as both a denouement and springboard of sorts that looks back on how the artist's style has evolved and continues to. Eight separate works plus a wooden house of cards explore interconnected facets of social control, tyranny, blind obedience, and Regalario’s personal antidote and response to the aforementioned. 

In the three-part series titled “The Last Man,” Regalario departs from her previous framing style to prove a point about the fleshy, opulent few and the lengths they would go to maintain their comfort—at the cost of their own freedom and dignity, as shown in the excess spilling over the frames. While the artist’s usual elements and themes recur in this series, there’s a noticeable shift in tone and choice of elements such as the biblical references in “Son of Man” and cartoonish pop culture nods in “Power Pie”. With her last few shows straightforwardly confronting socio-political issues like the Duterte regime’s extrajudicial killings, the masses’ plight during the peak of the pandemic, and the return of the Marcoses to power, Regalario realizes the need to come up for air and embrace both light and darkness without losing sight of either truth, in order to love life as a whole like in Nietzsche’s philosophy of necessity and ideal of wholeness. In the eponymous three-panel mural, both oppressive symbolisms and comical vignettes show just that. Tyrannical overlords and predator-and-prey symbolisms lifted from both historical and fictional references depict the ongoing tragedy that is Philippine and global politics, including the ongoing genocide in Gaza—but not without acknowledging the coexistence of comedy and tragedy as part of the absurd nature of life. 

Regalario’s interactive centerpiece—a house of cards—continues where her previous work Oro: Suit of Gold left off. Inspired by the quote of Dr. Jose Rizal about liberty as that which can’t be “secured at the sword's point”, but rather, ”by making ourselves worthy of it”, Regalario leaves the structure vulnerable to being toppled over and rearranged by viewers, prompting them to think about our personal and collective power to change the status quo. “And when the people reach that height, God will provide a weapon, the idols will be shattered, tyranny will crumble like a house of cards, and liberty will shine out like the first dawn." 

As with the expression “when the crow turns white” Regalario ponders on the improbability—but not impossibility—of achieving freedom and keeping our sights on hope and cherishing joy and life in the same space where we hold anger towards the systems that continue to oppress. As in Nietszche’s Zarathustra, of “keeping holy one’s highest hope”, Regalario continues to do so with art as her vessel. Everyone’s welcome aboard.

 

(Nikki Ignacio)

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