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Monday, August 6, 2007

FRACTAL VISIONS








NEW ARTIST SHINES IN SHOW OF SCULPTURES AND PAINTINGS



He has been an avid art collector turned-gallery owner but Seb Chua’s creative spirit and passion for art has spurred him to continue with his engagement in the art world. He has produced a body of work in both sculpture and painting media that he is unveiling in his first solo exhibit, “Fractal Vision,” at ArtAsia in the Art Walk of SM Megamall come Aug. 8.

Chua had taken up sculpture some time ago to indulge in a hobby that he later discovered provided untold pleasures and endless possibilities. A successful businessman in his own right, with extensive background in product research and design, the idea of exploring forms, both hidden and manifest, was a constant source of stimulus. A Xavier school alumnus who pursued studies at the University of Sto. Tomas and Columbia College in Vancouver, Canada, he was attracted to the modern, abstract style with its emphasis on form and negative space.

In the beginning, Chua was doing art intermittently, only when the occasion and the group presented themselves. Little did he know that his casual interest and momentary fascination would soon turn into a passion, more so when he realized that there is a dearth of professional sculptors in the art scene and space for them was rather lacking and insufficient. Thus, he and his partner decided to open ArtAsia when its space at SM Megamall became available just a couple of years back.

Likewise, the budding sculptor had set his mind on experimenting with bronze, marble and brass as mediums, and later casting his figures. Lured by friends to join the Annual Competition of the Art Association of the Philippines, he submitted a piece of sculpture, “Solitude,” which won the judges’ nod for honorable mention. It was the best compliment a neophyte like him could possibly earn.

For his first solo show, Chua has lined up a total of 18 medium-sized sculptures, majority of which explore the human figure, in his signature synthesized bronze medium and marble casting. The wide variety of colors --- pristine white, green, and polished brass plates --- shows Chua’s endless exploration of medium. The imagery yields a wealth of the artist’s multi-faceted examination into the internal states of the human condition.

Using a professedly modernist angle, particularly cubist in influence, and geometric in rendering, the artist shows his partiality to the angular form, emphasizing the inner strength of the figure while at the same time showing suppleness and grace in the posture delineated. While highlighting the quiet and restrained states of repose, as in “Soulmates” and “Contemplation,” he eschews the trite and trivial theatrics and instead opens up a multiplicity of meanings and the wealth of perspectives that can be deduced in these figures.

The size of Chua’s sculptures radiates a feeling of intimacy between viewer and object, as these works are meant for closer scrutiny, a private conversation by a coffeetable, a commode, or a shelf of personal mementos. The distinctive casting applied by the artist in retaining the grainy textures of his work speaks highly of his lofty sense of artistry and his emphasis on exploring all possibilities with his mediums.

Equally daring in showing his recent work in the painting medium, Chua has another body of work in oil on canvas, all rendered in the style of abstract expressionism. These paintings are stunning in their application of color and palette, revealing the untamed, if unpredictable, side of the artist whose journey won’t be complete without taking personal risks with his choice of concept and imagery. Using colors that can indeed be chaotic --- reds, greens and yellows --- and brushwork that is brisk, bold and brazen in application, Chua is proving to all and sundry that he is himself a work in progress. For giving us a new lease on art, exploring the medium and pushing it beyond its limits, an exciting new artist has arrived.

We can’t help, as we wish him well, but also watch this promising artist closely.




- - - Gino Dormiendo



FRACTAL VISIONS
The Seb Chua First Solo Exhibit

Opens August 8, 2007 at 6:00 p.m.
Art Asia Fine Art Gallery

Level IV Bldg. A. SM Megamall
Mandaluyong City, Philippines

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