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Thursday, January 27, 2011

THE THIRD PERSON’S THIRD EYE

THEM



A man halts himself to ask two artists on the street. To the sketch artist he asks, “Why is your world Black, White and Gray?” The sketch artist answered, “Because this is how I see the world.” The man turned to the oil painter beside the sketch artist. He asks, “Why is your world Black, Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, White and Violet?” The oil painter replied, “Because this is how I see the world.” The man looked at the two artists and tried to decide which artist to buy from. Thereby he chose the oil painter. The oil painter asks the man why he chose his work over the sketch artist, the man answered back. “Because this is how I see the world, or rather, this is how I want to see the world, colorful, beautiful and happy.” The oil painter retorted, “Then you need not buy my oil painting. You only need to open your eyes and see the world.”


A third-person’s standpoint becomes the foundation of THEM, a four-man exhibition mounted by Artepinas featuring emerging visual artists Marius Balck, Kris Jan Gavino, Tad Pagaduan and Averil Paras with Inna Cadlum as guest artist. “Them” is a third-person pronoun in the plural form. It is a personal reflexive pronoun. Utilizing this concept, these emerging artists were challenged to create artworks that present a single central character. The prerequisite here is to vividly execute on canvas the thoughts and actions of this single character where the viewer can be drawn to emotionally connect to that character. Other characters may be in the scene but it is only the thoughts of the main character that we learn about.

A graduate of Fine Arts from the University of Santo Tomas, visual artist Marius Black confronts the canvas with human bodies having elephant’s heads back-dropped by revered masterpieces. His central figure is reminiscent of Ganesh, one of the most beloved characters in Indian lore.

In Black’s current figuration, the elephant head itself is figurative. His women figures are reflective of the elephants’ highly matriarchal behavior, thus reflecting a commentary in the current status Filipino society. Black’s largest artwork in his series, The Last Suffer, back-dropped by Da Vinci’s Last Supper, is a multi-breasted Inang Bayan (Motherland), the matriarch ready to make ultimate sacrifices for the sake of brood and kin.

Kris Jan Gavino, about to graduate from the Fine Arts program of FEATI University, delved into the notion of “self.” His gray-scaled paintings are all mono-toned products of existential introspection. In Gavino’s paintings, the characters through their consciousness create their own values and determine a meaning in their lives as prompted in his piece “The Difference Between Purpose And Intention.” Very much evident in the artwork “Another Path,” Gavino contrasts his character to the moralist. When one looks into his relation with other people and into the relationship of man with himself, there is that realization that everywhere is controlled by “Shoulds.” That good intentions are mere words of “you should” in a world where everyone is always trying to change the world.

Tad Pagaduan, currently enrolled at the Fine Arts Program of the College of the Holy Spirit spits out fire and hailstorm in a parade of somber colored characters. From the artist’s lingo itself, Pagaduan’s works are, in general, troops of various violators; sinners, not by religious fingers but by judgments of modern society. This assumption may be an absurd one, but in some sense, Pagaduan sounded the trumpet for them--a hero's parade for anti-heroes--a rather pointless attempt to justify the unjustifiable just for the sheer fun of it. So we encounter the central characters- the common murderer in “Homicide Sweet Homicide,” the sex violator in “Muthafucka,” or perhaps an environment saboteur in “Seek and Destroy.” Maybe this is also the attempt to capture a fraction of the delight maniacs get whilst he/she strikes hysteria.

In a sense Pagaduan suspects this to be somewhat uneasy or even murder to the witnesses of such indecency. Sorry, it's just that some people fancy the hype of killing with a knife-and some with a palette knife.

Emotions are the very means of our ability to make contact. That has always been a staple fixture in an Averil Paras painting. Paras, on his last year on the Fine Arts program of FEATI University, also presented the concept of order, disorder and reordering as central to his works. He employed an opulent use of repetitive symbols. The Filipino’s avaricious craving for anything Western is emblematic in the mouth-watering hotdog-burger combo in “WOW! YEAHHBAAHH!” What appears to be a citrus plunge provides the rhetorical questioning in “Why Not Oranges?” Paras provides the viewer pensive insights to reality by expressing his calculated observations of his surrounding environment as his paintings are permeated with life and realism.

THEM, an exhibition curated by JCrisanto Martinez, takes its cue from a third-person’s perspective. It is a truthful presentation of truth. Fritz Perls, the German-born psychiatrist and psychotherapist noted, "...nobody can stand truth if it is told to him. Truth can be tolerated only if you discover it yourself because then, the pride of discovery makes the truth palatable.

THEM, a group exhibition mounted by Artepinas, Inc. for the ArtistSpace of the Ayala Museum shall be on view until February 6, 2011. Inquiries may be channeled through the Ayala Museum or at (+63) 922.331.41.08 or via electronic mail at info@artepinas.tk.

Texts: JCrisanto Martinez
Images: Marius Black, Kris Jan Gavino, Tad Pagaduan, Averil Paras

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