Last Saturday, Iskwalado IV, a painting exhibit, opened at the Art Center at the SM Megamall. Speedy and I were invited to the opening by Tito Rolly, one of the artists participating in the exhibit. He’s not an uncle, he’s not even a relative — he is a fellow blogger who has become a good friend. Saturday traffic is always terrible, I didn’t want to make promises but I sure as hell wanted to go. And we would have if I hadn’t gotten sick after Carrie, the musical. We had a late dinner at Banchetto’s after the show and I must have eaten something that did not agree with my digestive system. But that’s another story. The story I want to tell right now is that Speedy and I went to the exhibit last night. Perhaps, it was some kind of blessing in disguise going there after the opening crowds had gone because we were able to look at and study the paintings longer, closer and better.
First, Tito Rolly’s “The Visit”. Oil on canvas with images juxtaposed over a geometric pattern. I purposely did not ask Tito Rolly what his painting meant so that I could view it with an open mind. Later, I will ask him if my interpretation and his intended message match.
The genre that comes to mind is magical realism. The image has elements of the supernatural which is closely related to the Filipinos’ religious beliefs. In Filipino culture, a butterfly that enters the house is considered the visiting spirit of a departed loved one. In Tito Rolly’s painting, the woman whose face suggests she is still mourning welcomes the butterfly by allowing it to alight on her finger. On the background, the discernible human forms with blurry faces represent the departed loved ones, one of whom has an arm around the woman while the other offers her a flower. Both gestures suggest that they are trying to comfort her while she, in turn, derives comfort from their presence.
Why do I interpret the painting that way? Because it will be undas soon and Tito Rolly must have had that in mind. And I just love how he captures the undas culture in a single frame. Pure artistry.
More paintings from the exhibit that I liked.
Vincent Padilla’s “The Image Partake the Old and the Labored” is another oil on canvas. I know someone named Vincent Padilla who is a painter and who was Sam’s and Alex’s teacher. I’m not sure if it is the same Vincent Padilla who did this painting though because the Vincent Padilla I know specializes in portraits. I’m not very sure either what the title of the painting means but the image caught my eye. For some reason, it reminded me of Nick Joaquin’s “The Summer Solstice“, a short story that he later rewrote into a play, “Tatarin: A Witches’ Sabbath in Three Acts” on which the film “Tatarin” was based.
Jonathan Castro’s oil on canvas titled “Sabel” is a portrait of a bald, bearded man wearing eyeglasses. Not exactly something I’d drool over, BUT…
I peered closely at the painting and the technique simply amazed me. Up close, the brush strokes looked like bird feathers. For anyone who enjoys art, this is a perfect illustration that every piece of art, to be understood and appreciated, must be scrutinized from different perspectives — from afar, up close, from the left and right, and top to bottom.
The next painting is by Toti Cerda, an acrylic on canvas piece called “Original Copy”. From a distance, the “taped” pieces of paper looked exactly like taped pieces of paper. And I wondered what stupid artist would do something as lazy as that? Then, I looked closer and saw that there was nothing stupid about the technique. In fact, it was pure genius.
There are no taped pieces of paper on the canvas. The 3D effect is a visual illusion that only a masterful hand can create. Speedy and I agreed that this image would look perfect on the wall of a breakfast nook.
Finally, the tradition-defying piece. JA Cabato’s mixed media on canvas, “Dissecting Sophia”. Paper twine (might also be tissue paper) is used to form the profile of a woman, then the twine is painted in varying shades of gold. The result is just awesome. Defiantly awesome.
All paintings in the exhibit are for sale. For more on Iskwalado IV, visit Galerie Anna.