What a terrific coincidence that two leading galleries opened shows this week featuring terracotta and ceramic sculpture, pottery, and other stoneware pieces. What a great opportunity to see works from a cross-section of artists working with clay, from the old established hands of Jon and Tessy Pettyjohn and Julie Lluch, to the Negros sculptors Joe Geraldo and Mark Valenzuela, to up-and-coming artists Anna Varona and Pablo Capati. All the great civilizations, from the Egyptians onward, have molded
earth with their hands. These artists help us appreciate this creative expression today.
SUBSTANCE, WORKS IN CLAY AT TIN-AW
Anna Varona proved to be the show’s revelation with her piece, Revolution No. 9, a free-standing, large-scale ( six feet high!) timepiece that moves counterclockwise. Ceramic rotary phones glazed in varying hues serve as the clock’s digits, with actual numbers scattered around
its face. One of her other pieces, the kinetic Walang Katapusang Chacha, attracted just as much attention. She had minute figures coming in and out of openings on a foot-high glazed head.
I also liked the works in terracotta, Aba Dalena’s Askal, Joe Geraldo’s three-piece Tungango, and Mark Valenzuela’s Blah Blah Blah. Of course, the pottery superstars, Jon and Tessy Pettyjohn, and Joey de Castro delivered quality pieces. Jon’s Dreadnaught Guitar, which he put together following a handbook on how to actually make guitars, definitely had a lot of fans.
Although the show had several works from 11 artists, curator Patrick Flores’ deft placement of the pieces did not overwhelm. I loved
the lime walls and pedestals! And as with every show in Tin-aw, I felt right at home.
Substance features works on clay by Pablo Capati III, Joey de Castro, Charlie Co, Aba Lluch Dalena, Joe Geraldo, Julie Lluch, Jon Pettyjohn, Tessy Pettyjohn, Mark Valenzuela, and Anna Varona from 8 to 22 May 2009 at Tin-Aw Art Gallery, Upper GF, Somerset Olympia, Makati Avenue, Makati City. Ph (632)892-7522 or visit www.tin-aw.com
HIMAS MAS AT ART INFORMAL
Joe Geraldo, Joey de Castro, and Pablo Capati continue to impress us in their show at Art Informal. Here, we can examine each of them with more depth. Not only do they have more pieces on view, fellow sculptor Joel Alonday, who curated the show, places each one’s pieces in a separate section of the gallery.
At the foyer, Joey’s ceramics share the spotlight with his photography, the medium in which he first started his artistic forays. Apparently, he got into ceramics because of his frustration at never finding the right containers for his succulents. This led him to create his own. What a lucky break for pottery lovers!
I find Pablo’s pieces in this show more interesting. He allows his sculpture more movement, especially his women figures. They seem more polished, more deliberately done, than his pieces on display at
Joe Geraldo’s figures just keep getting more compelling. I did not realize that he used to work with wood, and only lately, decided to shift to terracotta as his medium. He brings us haunting pieces, grotesque and exaggerated social commentaries on his native Negros. The most arresting piece, though, is his assemblage of masks, 60 of them, no two alike, which hang on the gallery’s main wall. Again, he digs into his Southern background, to Bacolod’s Masskara fiesta,
Himas mas means to caress. In this show, we see a wondrous display borne out of hands that fearlessly shape, stroke, coax, and yes, caress, life from the loam of the earth.
Himas mas with Joey de Castro, Pablo Capati III, and Joe Geraldo, is on view from 14 May to 8 June 2009, at Art Informal, 277 Connecticut St., Greenhills East, San Juan. Ph (632)725-8518 or visit www.artinformal.com