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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

ALAN BALISI : 2009 ATENEO ART AWARDS SHORT-LISTED


ALAN BALISI – “Spacing Out” at Blanc Compound Mandaluyong

Aided by photographs both from his and his parents’ youthful days back in Isabela, Balisi paints memory as pictorial fragments rendered in cool tones that seem to articulate departure and distance. Photographs encapsulate time, and as with Balisi’s family, they tend to be precious souvenirs from the most special of occasions. Typically, there would be a favorite photograph, one with the most members of the family present, well-groomed and best-dressed. And just as typically, this picture will be chosen for a painting commissioned from a stall in a mall. The photograph, thus translated, achieves the idea of posterity.

This practice is quite distinct from the contemporary habit of painting from photographs. Painting from life, has in fact become the rarity for many artists today. It is a practice that subverts the agency of photograph as document as it becomes transformed as another tool or material, objects that are just as subject to the artist’s manipulation.

Balisi’s exhibit conjoins these tendencies and offers a hybrid of figuration and abstraction that effectively carries the narrative process into a realm of further imaginings and extended connections. We understand spacing out as entering a void. In Balisi’s paintings, this zone of neutrality emanate in spaces of wonder and reflection: in effect, an absolution of the tyranny of absolutes.


Notes by Karen Ocampo Flores


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