It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a life-sized bloom with slightly rusting petals ready to unfurl! Pete Jimenez relishes nothing more than taking on a backyard full of scrap and transforming it into whimsical metal sculptures. This man of steel creates art using discarded materials and found objects, a practice borne out by more than ten years of solo exhibits. An advertising professional with a degree in Visual Communications from the University of the Philippines, he turned to sculpture in the late 1990s after good friend, artist and gallery owner Rock Drilon, encouraged him to do so. Both belong to the UP Artists’ Circle Fraternity. This month, Drilon’s Mag:net Gallery in Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City welcomes Jimenez back for Body Parts, a suite of sculptures put together from a dismantled VW Beetle and other vehicles.
“Part of my creative process is to have fun while doing my work,” Jimenez shares. This mindset helps him fulfill his multiple he roles: running Optima Digital Inc. as its General Manager during the week, and bending and welding iron to his bidding on weekends. Assembling his material includes regular forays into junk shops, a task he cheerfully takes on alongside the progressions of a multimedia career, one for which he has received awards in animation and art direction.
Jimenez’s jocularity translates to pieces that brim with playfulness and wit. He imbues his visual puns with generous doses of Pinoy humor. In his last solo exhibit, 2009’s If The Shoe Fits for Alliance Francaise de Manille, he constructed his sculpture around a collection of old wooden shoe lasts fused with an assortment of metal objects. The facetious Its Unpairis a tabletop piece made from short metal pipes that hold two shoe lasts – both for the right foot. On another piece, a bunch of shoe lasts hang like fruit sprouting from metal bars that jut
out from a tall steel pole, literally forming a Shoe Tree. Three years ago, large nails salvaged from construction sites metamorphosed into the twenty works that came together in West Gallery’s now defunct Megamall space, a show Jimenez dubbed Nail Spa.
Body Parts, which runs from July 2 to 28, is the 15th solo exhibit for Jimenez. For this, he has fabricated large pieces from sections of whole vehicles, some sourced from as far north as Pampanga. Among others, the show incorporates an old Combi’s sliding door and its fender into works that seem to bounce and wiggle, an illusion of movement that decidedly draws on the artist’s background in animation.
In the future, Jimenez hopes to secure a commission for a public project, something that will allow him to put one of his works on permanent display and give pleasure to a larger group of viewers. In the meantime, he continues to produce the unexpected from his stash of iron. And enjoy himself as he does.
Body Parts runs from 2 to 28 July, Mag:net, 335 Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Phone (632) 929-3991 or visit http://www.magnetgalleries.com
This post has been reproduced from a short article I wrote for the July 2011 issue of Town and Country Philippines http://www.facebook.com/townandcountry.ph