RODOLFO GAN

PRISM 3

Rodolfo Gan’s latest series of paintings and sculptures continue to explore the possibilities within the field of geometric abstraction. Executed using his signature airbrush method, his paintings chart various compositional strategies within the squareformat. Throughout the history of modern art, many painters have adapted the square to draw attention to issues of scale, balance, unity, and proportion. 20th century abstractionists, in particular employed the square to defy the traditional formats for painting. In Gan’s case, he invokes the elusive nature of the sublime through his own personal configurations, using the square as an arena for the harmonious interplay of formal elements.

 

In Gan’s works, he reinforces the square with the addition of bold black borders andheightens contrast by juxtaposing fine mists of gradient colors with sharp lines that form into labyrinths, mazes and other enigmatic forms. In a pair of diptychs, the panels mirror each other and expand the notion of reflection and unlimited space. Complementing these paintings, Gan’s sculptures are made of interlocking forms – rings, cubes and triangles that are seemingly suspended in space. Using various metals and surface treatments, they capture the variations of the continuously evolving geometry and the fluidity of the compositional process. 

 

Espousing the idea that geometry had a narrative that is neither literal nor literary, as proposed by Frank Stella, Gan asserts, “Geometric abstraction also has the ability to tell a narrative beyond what is actually presented or what one can actually see.” Each shape, color and line serves as a kind of code that refers to a story behind it.  Despite the apparent formalism of Gan’s works, they belie their own furtive meanings and narratives. (RB)

PABLO BIGLANG-AWA

Encased Narratives

Inter-media artist, Pablo Biglang-awa's artworks investigate dynamics created by pulling force between the illusion of depth and planarity of the literal surface. As the foreground and background constantly shifts its hierarchy, the focal point of the image remains unfixed, transcending beyond its mimetic function to reflect emotional and psychological plane of human conditions.    

Biglang-awa's solo exhibition "Encased narratives" features recent works that examine domestic space, which has become the main stage of life under the pandemic conditions. Applying the perspective peculiar to the digital architectural model, the works in the exhibition makes salient how the human mind and imagination fill the empty architectural vessel and intimately weaves a sense of home. The books fly out of the card box, scattering and attaching letters in the space. While light coming in from the outside creates gentle membranes in the dwelling, it simultaneously throws dark shadows on the corners. In the contrast of light and darkness, home, a symbol of protection emerges as a mirror of the emotional roller coaster. The colorful lyrical lines create movement to the image, as if conjuring the spirit of the house, whispering to the residents. Home is portrayed here as a micro-ecology, in which the inhabitants engage in continuous dialogue with the physical structure. Memories and imaginations are not just projected on the flat wall but emerge from the interaction with it. 
          
The highly psychological nature of Biglang-awa's paintings owes to the artist's acute sense of framing the scene, which gives each image a quality akin to storyboard; thus allowing the viewer to imagine them in a sequence and construct stories through the emotions and associations evoked. Speaking to each viewer's unconscious, Biglang-awa's artwork reflects the psychological state of the viewer. (Mayumi Hirano)

POCH NAVAL

Walking Around

Presented in this exhibition is 'a charged terrain of contention' that wonderfully complicates viewing and interpretation. The collection of paintings and sculptures presented in the space are Poch Naval's attempts to capture renditions of current events – appalling greed of men, unavailability of answers, isolation. Marking surfaces with questions upon questions, the artist is opening them up to an exploration of the world by building connections inward and, at the same time, from the outside looking in. Reflecting on his interest in subjectivity in examining the human condition, he is inclined to exploring distinct sensations and information in his art-making. Strokes and shapes become sustained interrogations on the subjects of thought in relation to his state of being. 

 

Walking Around is an invitation for us to look into the performativity of the artistic process. "I am suspicious of this word 'process'" the artist wrote in our correspondence. He was talking about meditative walking as part of the painting method of Antoni Tapies. "...Because in my experience it is difficult to say when it begins and ends", he narrated. "I just walk because I feel it helps me when I paint, but I stop when tired. Even so, by then, I will have already seen and heard things." Relating this activity to a German writer who walks to a nearby cafe to shake off a block or monotony in his writing. Maybe it is also innate to the artist that he thinks about the philosophies of his gestures, whether those within his art-making or those done ordinarily in life. These contemplations, though intangible, are present in the atmosphere of the exhibition. This revelation lends a layer of particulars that invites us to evaluate the performativity of our movement, the kind that does not always rely on the actions of the feet. Poch pointed this out by saying that "mobility can be a movement of remembering or passive observation." To articulate this is a subtle way for him to influence us with the same sensitivity that serves him when he needs to distance himself and rediscover wonderment in viewing. Through learning about the artist's context, we situate his works and ideology in the universal effort to uphold our humanity. (Con Cabrera)