Loaded with Concrete

Loaded with Concrete presents recent works by Van Tuico. Known for his paintings created with acrylic paint and industrial materials, here the artist propels his creative production further by generating deception in perception. The displayed collection of objects intends to translate construction materials into a sort of concrete language built by loading additional weight and layers of significance. The aim was to innovate and enact an adaptation to the antiquated yet tested. He wanted to optimize innate representations of the familiar within a fairly unfamiliar terrain. 


Tuico challenges the words abstract and concrete in this exhibition. Much like the double entendre literary device that has multiple senses and interpretations, he presents different ways of understanding. In his attempts to turn concrete as a language system made visible by the abstract form, movement is both physical and philosophical. Concrete referents are shaped even with spatial and imaginative constraints. To accomplish this exercise, the artist brought together different materials to blend what is common to uncommon grounds. In exaggerating and distorting his weathered materials while referring to Brutalism, it was beneficial to familiarize himself with the form, purpose, strength, and capability of both style and matter. 


The artist's body of work is visible gathering performed through his art-making wherein the spiritual reckons up. In the acts of summoning and assembly, the bigger picture of life is rendered.


Alternating Atmosphere

Joey Cobcobo

Dex Fernandez

Mark Andy Garcia

Eugene Jarque

Doktor Karayom

Lynyrd Paras

Mac Valdezco


To alternate is to take turns. In our current pluralistic environment, we have developed a conditioning that we can have manageable expectations, but at the same, accept that there is a great deal of uncertainty in living the art(ist) life. This exhibition brings together alumni from the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP), who were also recipients of the coveted Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artists Awards, to map out testaments to the possibility of sustained creative growth while being supportive to your peers. An apt timing as the CCP recently closed the call for nominations for the triennial awards, these seven contemporary artists remind us of the diversity of the types of art and artists the university in dense Manila has been consistently producing. When Roberto Chabet wrote the curatorial guide for the awards, it was emphasized that the awardees should be "a new generation of artists that promise to dominate Philippine art," who "constantly restructure, restrengthen and renew artmaking and art thinking.”


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In a 2020 news feature titled "The T.U.P. Artist has finally arrived", struggle in art life was central to the candid interview, revealing a lot about the group's value systems. Most, if not all, artists here come from working-class families and had to grapple with economic limitations to live and produce art. The comfort and liberty they now experience are products of rising above obstacles as they were able to transform these hardships into fuel in artistic conceptualization and creation. This exhibition then does not aim to manifest a specific statement. But it is a display, a demonstration, of camaraderie that is fostered through time and has embedded amongst them mutual respect.


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When asked how TUP shaped the exhibiting artists' competitive nature and unconventional practices, they all pointed at Eugene Jarque, who was a former teacher to most of them. They attest to the inspiration and influence that was dynamic through its openness, honesty, and challenging yet nurturing manner. Of course, the existence of art competitions that was crucial to their production because of the prizes and eventual validations in the artworld was also acknowledged. Inevitably, Jarque attributes this encouraging and alternative thinking to LirioSalvador, the TUP alumnus who was instrumental in lifting the university into the art spotlight. Salvador brought the experimental ethos that was appreciated and embraced by many, especially by the artists in this group. The medley of styles and approaches displayed is proof of this radical spirit.


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Jarque's and Valdezco's persistent experimentation with materials, Cobcobo's methods of marking, Paras's and Garcia's evaluation of identity and the self, Fernandez's and Trinidad's fictional worlds – these concerns and modes of making are all by-products of self-development forged in fire that is constant in the midst of the realities in life. Awards and recognitions are but part of the chains of validation in the ecosystem of art. They may inspire or stimulate artists to do better and be better. Ultimately though, it is the sense of belonging, and to be able to cultivate one's creative life to take part and impart in this milieu is central. (Con Cabrera)