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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

drawings encounters from the turnpike and a light from a distant world


Katrina Bello
drawings encounters from the turnpike and a light from a distant world
3 June - 6 July 2009

The indomitable symptom of a city's city-hood is in its ruins being invariably built on the rubbles of the past only to anticipate its atavistic need to be subsumed once again beneath the layers of its accumulated wreckage. The cycle of building and destroying and building once again is read as a palimpsest of such movements and its ever changing civic and economic policies that bring about these inevitable and necessary effacements and displacements of its structures. The city essentially pillages from its own built environment the claddings for its unrealized empire.

In Katrina Bello's suite of mix media paintings to be featured in her upcoming exhibit at Mag:net Gallery, Drawing Encounters From The Turnpike and A Light From A Distant World, this process of continual diminishment or rather perpetual construction is evinced through the recurring lattice patterns swathed by broad pale washes of intermittent shades of gray. The polyhedrons, drawn predominantly as skeletal frames, are reminiscent of American architect Lebbeus Woods' rendering of his Locus Memory Plan for the WTC memorial in NY. Where Woods' lines are precisely scratched over a dense layer of ink wash, Bello's lines are similarly drafted with such exactness, forming polyhedrons that are bisected and intersected by milky drips and lacey cobweb mesh. The color used in some paintings seems to underscore the ghostliness of these empty structures.

This suit of paintings is however, a further exploration of her interest with either unfinished or abandoned construction sites ubiquitously strewn around urban centers everywhere around the globe. Most are based on photographs and videos she has taken on train and car rides traversing from her place of work in NYC to her temporary home in New Jersey where she worked as a freelance photography researcher.

If her early charcoal studies of these structures emphasized the somber settings of these structures so telling of their placement in highly industrialized parts of the city and their finer rendering easily identifies them as the poking steel and metal of unused billboard supports and forlorn radio towers, these paintings rather take on the essence of these emptiness, foregrounding their ethereal presence in relation to their raison d'etre or for their archaic idealism. Thus, they are presented as basic forms, but emptied out of their function or history, engulfed by the abrasive fluorescence of bright white pigment. Accordingly, they appear also as being hurriedly obliterated as to reinforce the idea of their being mere skeletal remains of their former selves - obliterated by either the forces of nature or the wavering pitfalls of human nature, phantom limbs that are sacrificed for willful destruction erected upon layers of wisps of remembrance.

One who posses this vision of place, or specifically of the city may well be comparable to what Walter Benjamin names as the "angel who watches over terrain vagues" , the one who from the same hand can easily fabricate such a place and send it to ruins thereafter, or completely expunge it of all its traces as a reclaimed tabula rasa, back to its anonymity, back to being terrain vagues, back to being non-spaces. It is rather a tireless practice that is "Concerned with space, with discontinuities, with moments - fleeting or eternal" , his drafts and plans a testament to the "brief shadowy existence" "of buildings, fences, doorknobs, vistas, monuments, signboards street names" Drawing Encounters From The Turnpike and A Light From A Distant World will have its opening cocktails on the 3rd of June at 6pm an d will be on view until the 6th of July, 2009.

Mag:net Gallery Ayala is at the ground floor of The Columns Tower 1, at the corner of Ayala Avenue and Buendia. For details or inquiries, contact the gallery at 929-31-91 or email info@magnetgalleries.com or visit www.magnetgalleries.com

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