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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

TABLE/TOPS


Table/TOP at Galerie Anna

Galerie Anna, a world-class service provider of Philippine and Global Art in the national and international market, proudly presents for the month of December a major exhibition of recent works by renowned and upcoming Filipino sculptors. Titled “Table/TOP”, the exhibition features the works of members of the Society of Philippine Sculptors (SPS) and other sculptors, such as National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva, Ral Arrogante, Ferdie Cacnio, Mervy Pueblo, Rogger Basco, Byron Salarza, Jecky Alano, Eghai Roxas, Ronel Roces, Rey Contreras, Tala Contreras, Julie Luch, Juan Sajid Imao, Arnel Borja, Pablo Mahinay, Jojo Sagayno, Uly Veloso, Dan Raralio, Noell El Farol, Evan Bejec, Jerry Araos, Julian Araos, Jenny Cortez, Dion Gonzalez, and Lirio Salvador.

Opening on December 5, 2008, at 5PM, and continuing until January 10, 2009, “Table/TOP” is a compelling journey that provides a tantalizing solution to the perennial problems of making sculpture relevant and significant in these contemporary times. Sculpture in the Philippines must cope with enormous challenges of sourcing often-expensive materials, unpredictable markets, and frequently short-term planning. Often, the only socially relevant form of sculpture is the public monument or statue that stands on plazas or street corners. On the other hand, such sculptures also deny the possibility of including sculpture as part of the domestic, indoor or interior space of home, office, or study. This emphasis on the public but often-remote application of sculpture may be noble, but it also brings to mind why so much of the people feel alienated or distant to this form.

Tabletop-sized sculptures, on the other hand, are more conducive to the tangible experience of viewers, who can not only view them at closer range, often at table height (hence the term “table top”); they can also touch and feel their surfaces with greater precision, and time to size up the effect of the sculpture in relation to their users. Tabletops are often derided as “commercial-friendly” because of their portability—and thus their easy disposal. However, we must also remember that the pleasure of handling and moving these small sculptures is precisely part of their appeal among collectors, as well as ordinary people drawn to the intimacy of the scale—and thus greater interaction and understanding results, something that a public statue oftentimes cannot achieve.

“Table/TOP” thus looks at the phenomenon of the small but significant, and locates the force of art not at the table itself, but what is on top of it—the unique creations of three generations of Filipino artists who have inherited the tradition of sculpture from the giants of the 20th Century, as well as centuries of native traditions and modern innovations that have enriched our culture. This includes the expressionistic but humane figurative pieces of Napoleon Veloso Abueva, the first National Artist for Sculpture and former disciple of Conservative great, National Artist Guillermo Tolentino. Abueva’s Modernism, which came of age in the early-mid Fifties, is highly nuanced but elegant, reducing natural elements to gentle curves on hardwood or concrete; or the drama of human action and allegory in his figurative statuary, a Romantic sensibility that he inherited from his master. Then there is the figurative works of those who came of age in the Seventies, like Jerusalino Araos’ sinuous figurative pieces; Julie Lluch’s evocative curvaceous forms; the curvilinear abstracts of former Abueva disciple, and now New York City-based artists Pablo Mahinay; and the socially committed and indigenously-themed social realist works of husband-and-wife sculptors Rey Paz and Tala Isla Contreras.

In the Eighties and early Nineties, the sculptural works of emerging artists shows the heritage gained from the emergence of both abstract as well as figurative traditions in Philippine Modernism—the fusion of the two achieved through the tireless experimentation and courageous open-mindedness of Abueva and fellow National Artist Abdulmari Imao. Ral Arrogante’s subtle and infectiously cute “Scrapologies” made from recycled scrap metal; Eghai Roxas’s abstract boxes and cubes; Dan Raralio’s segues from an almost academic figurism to a totally abstracted minimalism; Noell El Farol’s innovative use of colored and collaged glass; Ulysses “Uly” Veloso’s ironic and psychologically-dense treatises; Arnel Borja’s deftly-executed “balancing” sculptures executed in refined metallic and machine-like forms; and Juan Sajid Imao’s equal emphasis on curvilinear abstraction and human figures were all part of this process of digesting and meditating upon the aesthetic landscape that emerged in the wake of the Filipino Modernist giants.

In the latter Nineties and into the Second Millennium, this process of expanding upon Philippine Sculpture also acknowledges the contributions of those of the regions outside Manila, such as Cavite-based Rogger Basco’s Art Deco-ish figurative minimalism; Cebuano sculptor Evan Bejec’s submlime curvilinear sculptures executed exclusively in hardwood; fellow Cebuano Jojo Sagayno’s recycled-from-the-garbage-bin metal sculptures; and Ilonggo potter Jecky Alano’s ceramic sculptures of rotund human bodies. The younger generation of sculptors has also continued to redefine the tabletop in terms of form and meaning. Lirio Salvador’s ingenious “sound sculptures” are reconfigured to question the solemnity and silences of the household; Mervy Pueblo’s muscular concrete forms encased in steel defy the expectations one assumes about “women’s art”, and Ferdie Cacnio’s brass human figures of dancers exemplify the concern for defying gravity and pushing the boundaries of media to its fullest.

To expand upon the importance of Philippine Sculpture on this exhibition, two major activities will also be held on the duration of this exhibition. On Tuesday, December 9, from 2-5PM, there will be a public discussion on Philippine Sculpture by selected participants of the exhibition. On Tuesday, January 6, 2008, the curator of the exhibition, Dr. Reuben Ramas Cañete, will deliver a lecture on “Philippine Contemporary Sculpture” from 2-4PM. Both events will be held at Galerie Anna. The public is also invited to witness and participate in this event.

Galerie Anna, the presenter of this show, is as much a gallery for young emergent artists as for celebrated artists recognized nationally and internationally. The Gallery aspires towards significant showings of Philippine Art and discerning fresh artistic ideas with a view to making connections with the wider audience. We believe in Art that probes new frontiers, pays homage to individuality, and emulates the diverse ideas and values of society that can be stimulating and enterprising, especially at this juncture when the plurality of its expression in the Philippines throws new challenges for artists. Located at 7/F Ramon Magsaysay Center, Roxas Boulevard corner Dr. J. Quintos Street, Malate, Manila, Galerie Anna maintains a high-profile name recall among artists, art lovers, artworld administrators, and collectors by mounting a robust, well-curated exhibition based on a professionally planned exhibition calendar. Such exhibitions of art works in all media - paintings, art prints, sculptures and mixed media works are also the avenues for art acquisitions for collection and investment.

For more details and information about “Table/TOP”, please call or contact the Gallery Manager at Tel. # 567-94-83; or email at info@galerieanna.com. You may also click your Web browser at http//:www.galerieanna.com.

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