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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 THE YEAR THAT WAS: AVELLANA ART GALLERY



YEAR-ENDER: AVELLANA ART GALLERY

It was a homecoming of sorts in 2010 for Avellana Art Gallery as it featured artists who first showed their artworks and began their artistic career in the gallery. Most of them have recently exhibited their works in other spaces, participated in auctions and international exhibitions, and received awards for their compelling, creative vision. Two of them—Mac Valdezco and Eugene Jarque—have even won the CCP Thirteen Artists Award. Despite their numerous successes, they come back to acknowledge their roots and meaningfully mark their growth in the gallery where they all started.

Lynyrd Paras, Joey Cobcobo, Ryan Rubio, Valdezco and Jarque each had a solo show that ran for a month, astounding observers and collectors with broader thematic concerns, riskier conceptual experiments and more vigorous use of materials, without losing sight on the inherent craft of visual arts, something that has been inculcated on them by their mentor, Ferdinand Doctolero.

In December, Paras created a sweeping and powerful portrait of family life with When Blood Are Tears. Presenting the face of each family member squarely on the canvas, Paras summoned their favorite words, objects of affection and other associative devices that give his work its deep and moving commentary. Cobcobo also took the personal, domestic route in Lola 101 exhibited in November. The “Prince of Printmaking” did portraits of grandmothers by using details of leaves for imprints. The borders of the canvases were crocheted by his mother. As a nod to oral tradition, the lolas’ stories were broadcast from a pair of speakers.

Known for her organic and expressive textile artworks, Valdezco pushed the material envelope further in the August show, I versus I. Using found objects, recycled books and newspapers, she transported her soft sculptures into a two-dimensional format with the aid of traditional acrylic and canvas. The exhibit highlighted her two-year old “work pieces” which began the show’s narrative progression. Notable also for his wild, uncalculated use of materials, Jarque in his April show, No Moving Parts, manipulated aluminium sheets by cutting them into strips, painting over them and attaching them to canvas. The result: a sense of flattening of space, evoking landscapes and habitations that look at once floating and static.

Rubio, masterful when it comes to surreal, haunting images, proved to be a clairvoyant of the first order with Silence, an exhibit held in May. Apprehending ghostly forms and emanations—real or imagined, internal or otherwise—Rubio used paint as some kind of daguerreotype to capture the fugitive and the effervescent figures of his dark imagination.

February and June shows saw the first-time exhibits of Sue Bernardo-Montelibano and Miguel Castro, respectively. In Inscapes, Bernardo-Montelibano, a graphic artist, telescoped into the wondrous shapes and outlines of flowers, capturing their tender nuances and stark coloration in her suite of photographic works. Castro, on the other hand, showed how cut-outs could be elevated to a dramatic level by way of a rich and detailed slicing on paper. His use of a solid background was meant to blur the line between positive and negative spaces.

Opening the year 2010 for Avellana Art Gallery was Wave II and Mineral Cross by veteran artist Impy Pilapil. Composed of two monumental installations made from ash wood, the exhibit evoked the artist’s love for the sea. Slices of wood folded like waves while stainless steel mimicked gushing water frozen in time. Interactive, playful, and magisterial, the works showed the breadth of an artist confident with her materials and forms.


-CARLOMAR A. DAOANA

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