Thursday, April 28, 2011


“If I don’t terrorize, I’m not pop.” – Iggy pop

POP, the very onomatopoeia of something that just burst out of nowhere, or from the simmering soupcon saturated in instantaneous thrills, much like movie monsters springing forth from mad science experiments gone horribly wrong producing hybrids such as Godzilla itself which was conceived as a cross between a gorilla (gorira) and a whale (kujira) to verily embody size, power and its aquatic origin, JP Cuison’s 2nd exhibit opening this 29th of April at Secret Fresh Gallery treads the same nuclear amniotic pool which has spawned his own mash-ups of vintage cartoon and media characters in re-imagined scenarios wrought out from this polysoup of influences that now pervade both imagination and waking life.

The title of the exhibit POPZILLA, itself a word mash-up, implies an invasion by massive media exposure and from which pop art has started to utilize or rather parallel the tools , signs and systems by which consumer culture is manufactured and in turn consumed again which systematized as well and established art as an industry in itself, aside from being a topical reference to Cuison’s line of posters, Gigzilla, which he makes for various gigs around Manila. In these posters, he casts beloved cartoon characters in irreverent situations doing what they are otherwise known for, stripping them off the wholesome innocence of childhood memories to re-enact their personas in the adult imagination – Penelope Pitstop of Wacky Races sporting tattoos as Kat Von D, or the Planters peanuts minions invading as an SS troop, or a corny take on Ilong Ranger being olfactorily assaulted by Pepe le Pew. Even Philippine masterworks are not spared from this spoofy mash-ups as Amorsolo’s idyllic planting rice scene is invaded by a Boazanian battleship skull (from the 1970s Voltes V anime) floating in the pink-blue clouds and Luna’s Spolarium whose central figure, a fallen gladiator being dragged on the bloodied floor with the other fallen ones is mutated into a gloppy drippy creature who seemed to have been an accident of a freak time travel experiment, nuked out off the kooky time-space continuum.

Their persistence is somewhat an invasion of memories repressed and then re-activated to form new narratives out of these re-combinable hybrids that now can be easily extracted from their original context, through their numerous and variable appropriations and re-appropriations, ad infinitum, with their original value deflated to mere signs.

The conflation of Rizal and Marilyn, mutated into one iconic persona, and reproduced as silk screen prints as a direct homage to Warhol, best illustrates this and more as being both ubiquitous symbols that have digressed into mundane cultural objects , or at the extreme, kitsch, yet inflationary to their mythic currency.

What was shocking then with pop art when it first came out was the brashness of its process and the randomness with which it selects its subject matter, not caring for the divine attributes of what a work of art is thought to possess then. What just pops out in the mind and to directly translate it into canvas is as automatic and as intuitive too of the very process of creating. The brashness transgresses into cannibalizing existing imagery to turn into something new, mediated anew, or repackaged anew to offer a different perspective of things which JP Cuison’ s POPZILLA is trying to convey and wishes to jolts us out of our preconceived notions of things pop and otherwise.

JP Cuison is a graduate of University of the Philippines with a degree in Fine Arts in Visual Communication and a Best Thesis awardee. He is highly recognized in the field of advertising being a two-time Philippine representative to the prestigious Cannes Young Lions International Advertising Festival. He makes up the loony trio that produces the underground comix sensation, PUNNX COMIX with Manix Abrera and Dennis Nierra.

His first solo exhibit, held in Pablo Gallery, Cubao, featured his series of Gigzilla posters.

Popzilla! Is his 2nd solo exhibit.

Popzilla will have its opening cocktails on the 29th of April, Friday at 6 PM. This opening will also include live performances by Gorgoro, ….

The opening will also coincide with the launch of Rizalborg, JP Cuison’s 1st art toy designed exclusively for Secret Fresh. Made of polymer resin, Rizalborg comes only in limited signed and numbered editions of 50.

Popzilla will be on view until May 23.

Secret Fresh is at the Ground Floor of Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Avenue, North Greenhills, San Juan, MM. Contact details : (632) 5709815 local 7. Email or


Tad Pagaduan and Rem San Pedro painting exhibit combines their strength in a two-man-show entitled Play.Ground.

Fresh from emerging last year as winners of the prestigious Shell Art Competition, Pagaduan’s themes of environmental-cum-spiritual degradation faces San Pedro’s lurid, tattoo-like brushed drawings.

Play.Ground is both corrective and challenge to the contemporary notion that an artistic product must necessarily endear the eyes with strokes and hues that run pretty.

Opening cocktails on April 29, 6:30PM.

Play.Ground will be running from April 29 to May 14 at Galerie OneWorkshop, Suite 324 LRI Design Plaza Nicanor Garcia St Bel Air II Makati City. For inquiries, please call 8368799 or email



April 29 - May 13, 2011

One often wonders how fleeting childhood can be. A child’s world ends at the door of adulthood but this door never locks up and even when one has reached adulthood, the wonders of child hood awaits at the turn of a knob. One only has to open the door and be a child again even just for a moment.

The wonders of childhood may not only lie in its capacity to fill a child’s innocent life with innocent harmless desires, it may also has to do with all the "real", important things and controversies we have surrounded our mature selves with and in the way we lose all our innocence. We have to lest society swallows us up because society never runs out of creative and often cruel ways to sneak up on anyone especially those irreverently asking for it with their mindless ways.

Innocence is understood as a positive view of one’s virtues and values without any taint of wrong doing which hypothetically, is considered redundant, highly idealistic and moot to be a huge part of reality. In contrast to ignorance however, norms consider it a positive term with a tinge of cynicism connoting a rose tinted view of the world- a world only known to those actively experiencing them- the child, the adult only having trace knowledge and a bloated but truly faint memory of it. There is a false etymology explaining "innocent" as meaning "not knowing" (Latin noscere). The actual etymology is from general negation prefix in- and the Latin nocere, "evil" or "guilty" This makes the word itself not as innocent as it is misunderstood. As relatively irrational and irrelevant as they come, Innocence is therefore the realm of the child and we adults should not bother our sophisticated and educated (experience wise) selves with it, right? Wrong.

From this plain causality emanates an intricately complex and ever nagging conundrum: Was the collective innocence lost worth all the knowledge gained and would the set of knowledge gained ever help all attain wisdom without the virtues of innocence? One can only surmise innumerable possibilities but with deeper introspection, Innocence in the end would comprise a much larger part of our maturity than previously believed and a society losing it completely will only be to its own demise.

Einstein once said “if you traveled into space in a straight line, you will eventually come back to where you started” Granting all things as a realm of Quantum Physics and are explainable by virtue of causality, leaving innocence in search of wisdom will eventually bring us back to innocence itself with a more profound view of it. This profound view has inspired our artists to present a set of works regarding their innocent desires to confront the said conundrum using an equally powerful and advanced medium of digital art which up until recently has never seen wide usage in art exhibitions.

This exhibit is about artists turning the knob of the door to visit their childhood and glean valuable wisdom that anybody can use in the adult world. This also eventually grew into a body of work revisiting childhood desires, dreams, ambitions, behavior, habit, frustrations, memories, moments, experience, the toys, sensibilities, mind sets, and other childhood what not’s. Basically it’s all about AN ADULT'S REVIEW OF HIS CHILDHOOD AND ALL LESSONS TO BE GLEANED FROM IT TO MAKE LIFE COME FULL CIRCLE.

Written by Noel N. Pocot

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


APRIL 27 - MAY 28

There is something haunting about Lara de los Reyes' art. They often deal with memory, the kind that persists. The same sense can be felt at her latest show at 20SQUARE, An Impossible Farewell, which opens on April 27, 2011. The artwork is exceptionally personal, and goes hand-in-hand with the intimacy of the space.

There is more to be forgotten than to be remembered in this life, but sometimes we choose to hold on to the things that we are better off letting go. Like stone, it is the heaviness of memories that makes these permanent.

The exhibit features sculpture in wax and marble: the former, a soft material, the other enduring. In wax we find the artist’s self-portrait. In marble, often associated with permanence, we see shape of a pile of letter envelopes. The wax material is sensitive: easily scratched and melts when exposed to heat. In marble, memories linger even if the artist, as a human being, is prone to change.

There are also images woven with the artist’s hair on old jusi placemats, napkins, and coasters. Lara has been collecting the hair her body has naturally shed over the years. Already decorated, the domestic jusi cloths that she uses are embellished further with her hair. The dark strands stand out against the off-white color of the material and tell of stories of joy, peace, loneliness and tragedy through words and images.

She lets go as the strands of hair become something else. Sewn, they are micro-stabs into the jusi with the assistance of a pointy needle; invading another material. It is a violent process but the movement, smooth and repetitive; the sensual material tamed by an activity that is feminine. Mesmerized by the process, it is simultaneously communicative and meditative.

Words by Iris De Ocampo; Image: Lara de los Reyes, Poorly Imitated After You, 2011


Photocontest 2011-12

Colors of Life announces the 2011-12 Fifth Edition of the Colors of Life International Photo Contest. An International Photo Contest providing an opportunity for photographers to submit and exhibit their works in the United States and internationally.


This year’s competition will support the activities of Every Child Matters Education Fund, a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC providing advocacy for various issues of critical importance to children, including:

Access to affordable, comprehensive health care services
Early care, learning opportunities and after school programs
Reducing poverty
Eliminating violence, neglect and abuse against children in their homes and communities

Globally, misery has a child's face. According to leading humanitarian organizations fighting global poverty, children suffer disproportionately from misery and mistreatment. By supporting Every Child Matters Education Fund through the 2011-12 International Photo Contest and its visual impact, Colors of Life is harnessing the evocative power of photography to help improve children’s lives.


"Every Child Matters"

Preferred subjects for photographs submitted are those related to the issues focused on by Every Child Matters Education Fund, i.e. health care, education, poverty and violence and abuse, each as it involves children in America. The goal of this year’s competition is to produce a documentary-style exhibition from the 30 finalist photographs that will be utilized by Every Child Matters Education Fund in exhibitions and other events to call attention to its efforts on behalf of children. Given the theme and documentary nature of this year’s competition, the jury will afford significant weight to those submissions adhering closely to the theme in selecting the finalist and prize-winning photos.


Open to all photographers.
All forms of photographic medium are eligible.
Printing and framing of selected finalist images will be provided by Colors of Life with the support of its sponsors.


May 1st 2011


June 30th 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

STRIP 2011

Patricia Eustaquio, Nona Garcia, Geraldine Javier and Yasmin Sison are all known painters and are all recipients of awards for their work in various visual art forms, whether in painting, sculpture or installation. But for the exhibit opening this April 27, STRIP 2011 at Silverlens introduces them to the art world as photographers with an exhibit curated by Rachel Rillo.

The exploration of media in their work is something that the artists do not shy from. Patricia Eustaquio has used leather, crochet, ceramic and resin, to convey broken narratives within her varied installations. Geraldine Javier recently utilized a craft that she learned in her childhood, tatting, in her artwork and even integrated them with her paintings. Nona Garcia has worked with photo assemblage, x-rays and monochromatic paintings that look like black and white photographs. Yasmin Sison, aside from being an artist, has taught art from preschool to collegiate levels. They have all used various vehicles to communicate through their art.

Photography is not really new for these artists as they have all utilized them in some way in their art process. Likewise, they have all explored the concept of memory. However, this time, memories are translated into photographs, presented as the final form. In STRIP 2011, they are given the chance to present themselves as artists working with photography.

For Rillo, there is no intention in her curation of this show to measure up photography as an art form versus painting, an argument that she views as archaic. Instead, she invites the viewers to see works from these artists from a vehicle different from what they have become accustomed to.

Words by Iris De Ocampo; Image: Geraldine Javier, Alice and Lucinda, 2011



A Competitive Annual Publication of Works of Contemporary Painting and Writing about Painting

The International Painting Annual (INPA) is a project of Manifest Press, and a complementary project to the ongoing Drawing Annual project (INDA) which was begun in 2005. The goal of the INPA is to support the recognition, documentation, and publication of excellent, current, and relevant works of painting from around the world. As a carefully designed high-end book, the INPA enables Manifest to assemble a diverse array of works from around the world, without the limitation of physical availability, gallery space, or shipping logistics. Manifest's book projects support our inquiry into the creative efforts of artists working today, and serve to document the exceptional results for posterity.

A wide variety of approaches to painting are welcome and encouraged, including a range of painting types, from the most academic to the most experimental, but all with some relevance to the artists' honest understanding of the practice of "painting." Works that challenge the common notion that painting must be made with 'paint' are also welcome.

General Information and Instructions

Eligibility: The International PAINTING Annual is open to any artist submitting original works of art created in the years ranging from 2008 through 2011. Professionals and students in ALL disciplines are encouraged to submit. Manifest is eager to receive works of painting in a wide range of applications with the qualification being that artwork submitted is representative of high quality "painting."

Media: Open to any media applicable to the practice of painting including but by no means limited to traditional painting media. Printmaking, digital/new media, photography, sculpture, drawing, installation, etc., are all possibly valid.

Essays: With the inclusion of a call for writing about painting Manifest eagerly pursues a deeper understanding of how the practice is realized, discussed, and interpreted in our contemporary society. Written entries can be in any form (poetic, critical, historical, technical, philosophical) but should be directly relevant to the practice of painting and must be original works with proper citation for quoted material. Length of written entries should be limited to a max. of 1500 words. INPA entrants may choose to submit either artwork, writing or both.

Jury and Curator: Manifest's selection process involves a complex two-part system. This project will be juried by a 9-12 member panel of professional and academic advisors with a broad range of expertise. The jury will then pass along their scores to the project curator who will assemble the final selections from the jury-approved pool.
Publication: Each artist/author selected for inclusion in the INPA will receive one complimentary copy of the publication. The book will match the quality, size, and rough page count of the ongoing INDA and INPA project publications.

Monday, April 25, 2011


APRIL 27 - MAY 28

Creative force Gilda Cordero Fernando returns to SLab as a visual artist with the show Claiming a Piece of Paradise and Facebook, which opens April 27, 2011. Presenting 41 new paintings made in the last two years,GCF, as she is known, accompanies each piece with a story. She has assembled for us a utopian topsy turvy world that integrates spiritual beliefs coming from different parts of the world with everyday Filipino life.

Through the paintings in the exhibition, she packs ideas about a better world, and a better life that we should be living. The icons that she uses come from here and there but somehow she is able to blend them inside a single frame.

The painting Wars of the Universe depicts religious wars, as well as other disputes found in mythological and natural worlds. There is also an ethnic Filipino who finds himself conflicted as he tries to save his identity from being engulfed by globalization. There are wars going on but GCF still depicts the world in bright colors; there is still hope. Judgmental mindsets based on cultural differences should be stopped. As in the world of immortals found in The Other Forces, she reminds us that there is really no distinction between an angel and a Buddha.

Hope is also evident on a personal scale. In the pieces Dragon Taming is an Art, Flying Lessons and River of Tears she encourages the viewer to let go of the past and the shackles that we are bound with by society. Instead, she urges viewers to trust their intuition. Gut feel is a better guide than making decisions based on the opinions of others—hindering personal growth.

In the series Facebook, we see the instinctual GCF and her creative process. All of the faces were invented; even the P-Noy face just came accidentally. The assortment of quirky characters play as witty observations on Philippine society. She admits to not being an active member of the social network herself; the use of the name “Facebook” is just her playful way of pointing out the uniqueness in everybody.

On one hand of the exhibit we find universal truths, while on the other, individual strengths. But this is not in conflict with the duality of the energies found in the artist herself. Between extremes, she flows. She is telling us that like her, we should just go and live life!

Words by Iris De Ocampo; Image: Gilda Cordero Fernando, Wars of the Universe (detail), 2011


Zero-in, a consortium of private museums [Ateneo Art Gallery, Ayala Museum, Bahay Tsinoy, Lopez Memorial Museum, and Museo Pambata] that are working together to expand and deepen the appreciation of the country’s art and rich cultural heritage in support of the national government’s initiatives is embarking on the next stage of its annual exhibition program.

In September 2011, Zero-in launches The Zero-in Festival: Open Call whose aim will be to attract new audiences and participants by showcasing the museums as platforms for engaging with different art forms:

Ateneo Art Gallery – culinary arts
Ayala Museum – film and fashion
Bahay Tsinoy – visual arts
Lopez Memorial Museum – music
Museo Pambata – dance

Artists are invited to to submit concepts regarding how they see themselves working creatively within the museums – thus, “Open Call,” with the curatorial staff of each museum making a selection based on merit and feasibility of execution. The second approach will have each museum mounting an exhibition of their designated art form using their own collections or didactic materials. A parallel joint exhibit with a sampling of each museum’s Open Call results will also be mounted at a high traffic area i.e. a mall.

Proposal Guidelines for Bahay Tsinoy Museum’s
Open Call for its September 2011 Zero In exhibition

Field: VISUAL ARTS [Artists must be Filipino citizens. There is no age limit] Do visit the musem at 32 Anda corner Cabildo Streets, Intramuros, Manila

Please supply the following:
- a working title for your project
- a brief description (500-700 words) which states how the project is best suited to be undertaken with Bahay Tsinoy, museum of Chinese in Philippine life (in relation to its collections, institutional history, previous projects/exhibits)
- description of logistic/technical requirements indicating which elements consist of artist’s counterpart and which will be sourced from Bahay Tsinoy’s or other proposed project partners.
- a proposed timeline for all the project’s phases—from pre-prod all through post-event documentation (should include lead time for searching for resource partners/sponsors, any required fabrication/equipment testing, press coverage, recognizing nuanced skeds {3 months prior to opening of event if for glossies, quarterly editorial planning for some art publications, etc.}; if the project is a long-term one and this proposal only covers one component, indicate in the schedule how this component plays into the project logic—is it a research component? follow-up? culminating activity?)
- point person/s and contact details with accompanying CVs and digitized portfolio/documentation of past work for the past five years (in pdf format)
- email requirements to with a subject heading of Open Call: ARTIST’S NAME . deadline May 31.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


We are now accepting entries for the 2011 Art Kudos online competition.

Prospectus (Rules & Guidelines) »
Entry Form »

Art Kudos is an annual international juried competition that serves to recognize and honor excellence in the visual arts. Artists who are selected as finalists benefit from world-wide exposure in a year-long online exhibition ( and have the opportunity to win cash awards for their exemplary work.

A total of $4,400 will be awarded as follows: Best of Show - $1,200; Second Place - $900; Third Place - $750; Founder's Award of Distinction - $500; (3) Merit Awards - $250 each; (3) Honorable Mentions - $100 each.

Each year a distinguished art professional is chosen to serve as the awards judge and to ensure a diverse range of perspectives and expertise. We are very pleased to have Holly Koons McCullough serving as juror of awards for the 2011 exhibition. Holly Koons McCullough is the Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia. She began her career at the Telfair in 1996, serving as the museum's Curator of Education before assuming leadership of the curatorial department. She spearheaded the publication of the Telfair's first collection catalogue, and has organized exhibitions on subjects ranging from modern silverpoint drawings to contemporary Southeastern art, as well as 19th and early 20th-century American art, including the recent Dutch Utopia exhibition. She holds a B. A. in English and art history from the University of Georgia and a M.A. in art history from the University of Notre Dame.

The Art Kudos competition is sponsored by, a company that offers web-based services and resources for artists and arts organizations.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011



The Noboru Contemporary Art Gallery is now accepting applications for our Open Exhibit for foreign artists!

This summer, we'll be hosting an OPEN art exhibit and competition for interested FOREIGN artists only. All artists who submit a complete application, artist statement, and fee will be exhibited with us online. At least 10 artists will be selected to exhibit at our gallery in Osaka. Those selected artists will be flown to Osaka, Japan to attend the opening reception and receive a ¥150000 (about $1800 US) cash prize. Airfare, one week hotel stay, and nightly dinner are included.

Deadline for submissions: June 4th, 2011.
Opening reception: July 8th, 2011 at 9:00 PM.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Philippine Art Awards launches 2011 visual arts competition
(The Philippine Star) Updated April 18, 2011 12:00 AM

Manila, Philippines - The much-awaited visual arts competition is now officially on. Philippine Art Awards (PAA), the only two-tiered arts competition in the country today, shall hold its regional selection this year for Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and Metro Manila, and shall award 10 winners from each of these regions, all of whom will receive P40,000 each. Next year, all these 40 regional winners will compete for the National component and vie for a grand prize and seven Jurors Choice awards to win a larger pool of cash prizes. The competition will accept multi-dimensional artworks, not just paintings, as it had expanded the entry categories in its last regional competition in 2009.

This year, the awarding ceremonies for Visayas Art Awards will be held in Iloilo, and the Mindanao Art Awards will be held in Davao while the Luzon and Metro Manila Art Awards will be held in Manila. Aside from the cash prizes, the winners will receive a trophy designed by National Artist Napoleon Abueva, and each winner will also get to keep his winning work.

This prestigious art competition is jointly organized by the National Museum, Asian Tigers Philippines and PMFTC Inc. “We believe that the Philippine Art Awards do not only enliven the visual arts community, but also contribute to the discovery and recognition of emerging or sometimes hidden artistic talents of Filipinos” says Chris J. Nelson, president of PMFTC Inc.

PAA is likewise supported by the following regional partners in Luzon : Baguio Mt. Provinces Museum, Museo ng Hiyas ng Bulacan, JDN Center of Holy Angel University, Developmental Intitute for Bicolano Artists in Naga, Legaspi City Museum, Atelier Tiamson of Angono. For the Visayas region, it is supported by The Negros Museum in Bacolod, Dagyaw Institute for the Arts of Iloilo, Humanities Division of UP Tacloban and Asian Tigers Philippines-Cebu. In Mindanao, it has Museo de Oro of Xavier University, Gallery of the Peninsula and the Archipelago of the Ateneo de Zamboanga and University of Mindanao as regional partners.

“Philippine Art Awards has, over the years, consistently put together outstanding panels of judges composed of experts in the field of visual arts such as museum directors and curators, authors on Philippine art and artists, art professors and renowned Filipino artists,” assures Bayen Elero, corporate affairs director of PMFTC. PAA is proud of the distinguished roster of top winners for the last 15 years, which includes Gabriel Barredo (1994), Alfredo Esquillo and Ferdinand Doctolero (1995), Alfredo Esquillo (1996), Daniel Coquilla (1997), Nona Garcia and Norman Dreo (2000) Benjamin Elayda (2001), Leonard Aguinaldo and Kawayan de Guia (2003), Crispin Villanueva (2005), Amby Abaño (2006), Marina Cruz (2008) and Augusto Elopre (2010).

Friday, April 15, 2011


Call for entries
7TH Annual Juried Exhibition

Entries Accepted: Through Saturday, June 18th 2011 (must arrive by this date)
Exhibition: Friday, August 5th through Sunday, August 28th 2011.

Raymond Meeks

Newspace Center for Photography invites you to enter our 7th Annual Juried Exhibition. Winning images will be shown at the Center during the month of August 2011. The competition is open to all photographic themes and processes, but the work should have been created in the last five years.

Those accepted into the show will be notified by early July and will be posted on our website. Selected photographers will exhibit at Newspace from Friday, August 5th through Sunday, August 28th, 2011. One photographer will be selected for a solo show at Newspace in 2011 and awarded $500. Regional, national, and international entries are accepted.

To enter, fill out and mail a completed entry form. Only CD submissions will be accepted. Images must be 300 dpi jpg files no larger than seven inches in the longest dimension. Each jpg file must be titled with your last name, first initial, “underscore” and the correlating number to match the entry form. For instance, Mike Smith would be SmithM_1.jpg. The CD itself must be labeled with the photographer’s name. Materials will not be returned.

The entry fee is $40 for five images. Newspace TOY CAMERA level (and higher) members may enter five images for FREE. You may enter as many times as you like. Entry fees are non-refundable.

download entry form

Send the completed entry form with your CD to:
Newspace Center for Photography
7th Annual Juried Exhibition
1632 se 10th ave.
Portland, OR 97214.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Two-dimensional pieces, sculptures, performance and installation art – artists Junyee, Joe Bautista, Pandy Aviado and Red Mansueto and the Syjuco family opens to the public a spectrum of works in their upcoming show at NOVA Gallery entitled “Articulating Structures and Medium”. Such differences in form and medium show each artist’s recognition of the challenge brought about by the employment of new materials and structure resulting to a insightful discourse between the works, the artists and the viewer.

Cocktails open at six o'clock in the evening 15 April 2011. The show will run until 6 May 2011 at NOVA Gallery, Warehouse 12A, La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati City.

For more information call 392-7797 or send an electronic mail to or visit

Friday, April 8, 2011



Bembol Dela Cruz
House Blends

It’s a belated realization that white elephants do hang around in our cupboards and pantry, and which Bembol Dela Cruz, in his exhibit House Blends, points out in his latest series of paintings that jar the complacent banality and seeming incorruptibility of common household items. The odd juxtaposition of the technique with which they are made and the contents of each tableau confound further this fact.
These are presented as still life paintings reminiscent of 17th century Dutch still lifes which emerged and became popular at the apex of the then Dutch’s republic economic growth following their war for independence in 1568 – 1648.

More than a showcase of the material produce of trade and nature, they also served as moralistic allegories on the transience of life, however marvelously and sensuously these banquet pieces are rendered with each dimpled peel of a rotting lemon, the browning petal tips of a wilting bouquet and the sinewy loins of a newly-killed game animal paired with glinting silver, crystalline decanters and the most luxuriant silk fabrics.

Also called Vanitas, or rather the more didactic of such genre, the worldliness of how these are painted is only matched by the deft skill of the painter who revels in the conceit of his skill for rendering them so in great detail and with impeccable mimesis of light’s effect on various surfaces. Hence, the viewer is dazzled for the surface vanities of worldly objects, and always willing to be deceived by such, if only for the pleasure of this very process of bedazzlement. Indeed, the idea of trompe-l’oleil, literally little deception, encapsulates this and all the more makes apparent the “vanity” of such conceit/deceit, veiling behind the sheen and glimmer the morbidity and frailty of human existence.

Dela Cruz however presents us with commonplace pantry items that similarly conceals/camouflages the latent risk of their combination. The paintings read like a grocery list, not for a dish to be cooked, but for homemade explosives that can be concocted from these presented objects. Hence, a composition of eggs, garlic powder, and oil maybe misconstrued for the ingredients for some savory mayonnaise, if not for the presence of a liquid detergent container and a bullet.

Most of the contents of each still life painting were lifted from the infamous Anarchist Cookbook that was published in 1971 but widely circulated underground, and appended by anonymous pirate authors who put it up on the internet for downloading until it was discontinued or philtered 5 years ago for security breaches and the increased number of militant actions that have used the book for making their own bombs since its first release.

It can be surmised that these paintings are the industrial equivalents of the Dutch vanitas as by laying bare the instruments with which lives, properties and even whole cities are destroyed. It is a predicament very peculiar to our times and which have been engaged with seemingly in the course of the rise and fall of movements and civilizations – a theme that Dela Cruz has since explored in his early paintings – of bombed out cities overlaid by trompe l’oleil rulers, and of scratched car dents and warped car hoods smeared abstractly by another offensive vehicle.

The genre of still life has actually been the vehicle with which Cezanne has revolutionized picture making as he regarded the genre as perfectly wieldy for exploring forms in geometric spatial organization and with which he had taken painting away from its illusionistic/mimetic function to one demonstrating independently the elements of color, form, and line which paved the way for abstract art.

In a way, explosions are a form of abstraction. The fear elicited from such devices depicted in Dela Cruz’s paintings derive from a speculated unknown enemy, which is not necessarily directed to just one person but a group of persons who personify an idea, a belief system or even hierarchical structures built upon fanatical singular visions, wherein our Appolonian vision of the world is continually being threatened by the inevitability of chaos and the overwhelming void that births this chaos.

How do we arm ourselves in such times or do we start revolutions of our own or continually deny these truths in their very containment in our cupboards, camouflaged as one’s basic necessities for survival, or rhetorics as trompe-l’oleil measures for safeguarding one’s sanity against paranoia?
Or rather we let white elephants parade in our blissful ignorance of such and die at the sight of stars in a titian streaked sky.

Interestingly, the camouflage pattern used on warships during the two world wars and designed by artist Norman Wilkinson is also known as Razzle Dazzle or Dazzle painting.
E.g. the extreme leftist-Marxist group The Weather Underground that was formed in the late 60’s and early 70’s, and whose members called The Weathermen, devised innumerable number of bombs such as nail bombs to destroy government buildings and banks. The two high school kids behind the Columbine massacre is alleged to have read the book before beginning their attack on their classmates. In recent times, even the possession of said book could warranty jail time due to tighter strictures and provisions under international anti-terrorism laws.

-Lena Cobangbang

Bembol Dela Cruz Show opens on 6pm Saturday April 9 at blanc compound

Wednesday, April 6, 2011



ZEAN CABANGIS: Walking on Thin Ice

Certainty is a construct that arises from the human experience; it does not exist in the realm outside of reflexive sentience. Whereas stars, molecules or hamsters are not anxious to be sure that they exist, the opposite runs in the stream of every human consciousness that strives to find even a smattering of awareness that 1) the world is real and 2) “I” exist, with some absolute sense of certainty. Thus the other constructs that buffer the value of certainty are invented: ideology, dogma, doctrine, revelation and tradition. Framed by the conflicting, layered, profuse knowledge in plenitude around us, we fight tooth and nail to preserve our “worldview’ and our “identity”. In this regard, certainty is not a rock-solid idea, but a red flag that is raised in every aspect of life. We create our own zones of certainty, as we are anxious about it all the time.

Contemporary artist Zean Cabangis takes the bull of certainty by the horns in his series Walking on Thin Ice. With works peppered with titles arising from the range of: secrets / regrets / accusations / remonstrations / declarations / doubts, the young artist exposes that our anxiety of uncertainty almost always includes the affective more than the mere conceptual…

Excerpt from the essay, ‘Uncertainty in the Age of Networks’ by Riel Jaramillo Hilario
Opening :Thursday, April 7
@ artinformal

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

EcoLOGIC (NatureBeingArt)

The common denominator between the artists involved in this group exhibition at the Baguio Museum is that everyone is an advocate (but not limited to) of promoting ecological/environmental issues by way of the arts. Lamentable as it is as the Philippine Art Scene continues to witness the disillusion or suspicion on the “phasic” nature of the local arts by the alleged dominance of a particular style or genre of art making; that the term ecological/environmental art (no matter how contemporary the ecological/environmental issue is) has continued to be relegated to the impression of the flora, the fauna and the landscape. It has continued to remain the nativist strain of Filipino aesthetics; marginalized from the perspective of “indigenous art” or the art done in the regions and provinces; thus has to take the backseat.

In this group exhibition, the works showcased are not merely the presentation of the traditional landscapes, flora and/or fauna. The artworks focus on the more elemental side of nature (air, water, fire, metal, earth). The works center when the “landscape” is in a state of flux or transformation. Therefore we focus on the character. The artworks convey nature at very unique or unusual moments, thus capturing the sense of a place. These critical and temporal settings provide a sense of the majestic mythic persona that mother-nature hardly ever unveil. We seek out and expound the consequential when an environment resonates with the human spirit and we try to communicate these moments poetically.

The artists in the exhibit include William Antonio, Ral Arrogante, Aaron Bautista, Inna Cadlum, JCrisanto Martinez, Wayan Narra, Andy Orencio, Christian Regis, Dennis Rito, and Marga Rodriguez. In this exhibit, the artists work with varied format-sized multi-media to convey and capture the contemporary scope.

EcoLOGIC (NatureBeingArt) is curated by JCrisanto Martinez. It opens at The Baguio Museum on April 8, 2011 at 3:0 p.m. and shall be on view until April 29, 2011. The Baguio Museum is located at the DOT Compound, Governor Pack Road, Baguio City, 2600 Philippines. For inquiries about the EcoLOGIC artworks and the exhibition, please contact Ms. Gemma Gardingan at (6374) 444.75.41, sms at (+63) 915.655.06.68, or thru email at Further inquiries about the artists and the artworks can be coursed thru sms at (+63) 922.331.41.08, or via email at

Texts by JCrisanto Martinez

Image by Marga Rodriguez


Monday, April 4, 2011


The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Announces Winners of Tanaw Art Competition

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. and Dr. Jaime Laya, Chair of the BSP Cultural Properties Acquisition Advisory Committee, awarded the cash prize of P500,000.00 to Gary Custodio as the first prize winner of the BSP Tanaw Art Competition. From Kalibo, Aklan, Custodio bested 189 other entries, 158 from NCR/Luzon, 23 from Visayas and 8 from Mindanao, with his watercolor The Rebuilders. Second prize winner Melvin Culaba from NCR received P300,000.00 for his oil painting Unresolved while third place winner Brave Singh from Bantay, Ilocos Sur received P200,000.00 for his oil painting Pagsabay sa mga Hakbang ng Ating mga Pangarap.

Shown in photo before the winning piece are, from left, Dr. Laya; Gov. Tetangco; Custodio; competition judges Mercedes Lopez-Vargas of the Lopez Museum; Dr. Patrick Flores of the UP Diliman College of Arts and Letters; and Olivier Dintinger, former director of Alliance Francaise de Manille. Other judges are visual artist Nona Garcia and art connoisseur Paulino Que.

The three winning pieces and other finalists are on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila from 17 February to 30 April 2011.

Tanaw, BSP Art competition

“Tanaw”, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) very first Art Competition, aims to support the development of Philippine contemporary art and give artists a new forum in which to display their talent. The competition challenges artists to strive for a higher level of artistic excellence and is dedicated to the recognition, encouragement, and support of contemporary art. It endeavours to enhance the BSP art collection by showcasing outstanding works of Philippine contemporary art.

The main goal of the competition is to encourage the development of Filipino artistic talent; also, to recognize artistic excellence and provide a platform for the exposure of Philippine art; To raise public awareness and appreciation of art and to recognize and honour the best Filipino artistic talent.
The competition is open to Filipino citizens who are at least 18 years of age as of 31 December 2009 and who have been declared prize winners, jurors’ choices, and honourable mentions in Philippine art competitions and those who have been invited by internationally recognized institutions and participated in international expositions including biennales or triennales.

Some of the Philippine art competitions and international expositions and institutions acceptable for purposes of eligibility in the 2010 Tanaw Art Competition are: Art Association of the Philippines, Art Petron, GSIS Painting Competition , Metrobank Art and Design Excellence , Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards , PLDT-DPC Viual Art Competition , National Shell Art Competition , Biennales , Busan Biennale in Busan, South Korea , Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area (CAFKA), Canadian Biennale of Contemporary Art , Dakar Biennale, Senegal , Florence Biennale , FotoFest, The International Month of Photo-related Arts, Houston, Texas , Istanbul Biennial, Turkey , Kitakyushu Biennial, Japan , Kwangju Biennale (also spelled Gwangju), South Korea , Liverpool Biennial, UK , and the Cultural Center of the Philippines 13 Artists Award to name a few.

The judges for this competition were Mercedes Lopez-Vargas, director of the Lopez Museum; Dr. Patrick Flores curator of the UP Jorge B. Vargas Museum; Olivier Dintinger, former director of Alliance Francaise de Manille; visual artist Nona Garcia and art connoisseur Paulino Que. The three winning pieces and other finalists are on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila from 17 February to 30 April 2011.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. and Dr. Jaime Laya, Chair of the BSP Cultural Properties Acquisition Advisory Committee, awarded the cash prize of Php500,000.00 to Gary Custodio as the first prize winner of the BSP Tanaw Art Competition. From Kalibo, Aklan, Custodio bested 189 other entries, 158 from NCR/Luzon, 23 from Visayas and 8 from Mindanao, with his watercolor The Rebuilders. Second prize winner Melvin Culaba from NCR received Php300,000.00 for his oil painting Unresolved while third place winner Brave Singh from Bantay, Ilocos Sur received Php200,000.00 for his oil painting Pagsabay sa mga Hakbang ng Ating mga Pangarap.

The winning artworks automatically become part of the BSP art collection. The rest of the submitted artworks will then be returned to the artists.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 13 April 2011 14:36)








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