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Sunday, June 28, 2009

AARON BAUTISTA @ 13:52 GAWA DOS


Rapid urbanization and the ever-expanding global market have changed the Philippine economic topography in the past fifty years. That wave of free capital has impinged itself and has changed the course and landscape of art and art-making. To speak of what is “Contemporary Philippine Art” and what is “contemporary” in Philippine Art for the past fifty years as a consequence of the influx of a disconcerting assortment of stylistic and aesthetic developments can be encapsulated in two terms: “phasic” and “hybrid.”

Free capital has also altered the landscape of Angono. The once bucolic locale has long ceased to be idyllic. Its terrain and folkways, its color and pageantry is now fused with the once rural and the current urban. But what undeniably remains is its impressive heritage of painting.

Aaron Bautista, professional painter and art teacher from Angono, working mostly with mixed media on canvas has established a style in abstractionism which currently comprises his body of works. Yet for 13:52 Gawa Dos, Bautista chose to pay homage to his old town and for this instance set aside his non-representations. What resulted is the highly hybridized set of artworks characterized by the conjoining of unlikely styles together in the work of a single artist (for instance, a Bautista mixed media abstraction alongside with a Bautista portraiture).

What is impressive in Bautista’s works for 13:52 Gawa Dos is that while it “cannot be categorized as pure folk genre paintings, certain elements of a rich pictorial tradition persist: strong figuration, emphasis on color composition, empathy for the cultural milieu of family, and the appearance of fiesta and folklore in various context and conditions.” On the other hand, his non-representational works, those daringly-manipulated spaces, and the exuberant play of colours that appear to burst out of his stretched canvases provide him a niche in the deepening realms of abstraction.

Clearly, Angono continues to generate artists and their diverse works of art. Botong’s small town withstands and keeps on being reinterpreted, still with that element of custom, folklore, tradition, of times gone by, and recollection, within and beyond its hybrid landscape.


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