Two of my favorite artists, Rodel Tapaya Garcia and Jose Tence Ruiz, take their art to Beijing
and Singapore respectively, with solo shows of mainly works on canvas opening seven days from each other. Meanwhile, back home, Annie Cabigting opens her first major exhibit in almost two years. For fans of Filipino paintings who happen to be traveling around Asia these next few weeks, here are three good shows to catch:
MYTHICAL ROOTS, RODEL TAPAYA
Once again, Rodel plays the raconteur of forgotten Philippine
myths and legends. Like Scheherazade of One Thousand and One Nights, he hasn’t run out of stories to tell. Through
his signature devices of exaggerated and grotesque figures set against fantastic landscapes, he
brings us visual narratives, an alternative avenue for appreciating our folk tales. In this Beijing show, he weaves his fables via large scale acrylic on canvas pieces (76 x 60 in) and his dioramas from found objects and hammered metal sheets, decorated and embellished both within and without.
Even if Rodel continuously mines local Filipino material for his chronicles on canvas, his works retain their appeal to an international audience. I know, I’ve said that many times before. I just find it pretty amazing.
BLUSKREEN BALLROOM, JOSE TENCE RUIZ
Just like popular depictions of Marie Antoinette, Bogie’s Kotillion ladies have become caricatures for the indifferent elite who scoff at suffering that does not directly interfere with their excesses. This time he takes them global, to Singapore, a city which he called home in the early 1990s. Once again, he imbues his voluminously-clad females and their pouf a la reine hairdos with features of today’s celebrities, the better to drive across his views on the correlation between the adoration of beauty with the penchant for over consumption (think of the Imeldific!)
Angelina Jolie lends her features to Blu-skreen Ballroom: Dona Guerrerra. She brandishes war’s destructive results. Look closely at her curlicue gown, and see the word “War”
repeated several times. Signorina Marina‘s face is Nicole Scherzinger of the singing group Pussycat Dolls. Her gown, made of blasted jeepney parts, reflects Bogie’s recurring fascination with his jeepney car bombs. Chinese superstar Xang Xiyi, aka Mademoiselle Bec Sucre, wears a gown made up of parts for sawing wood and felling trees, ultimate symbols of how our demands denude our natural resources. And finally, what I think would be my favorite of all the Kotillion ladies I have encountered thus far, Madonna Bellumbella, named for who else? None other than the Material Girl, the utmost purveyor of the bilmoko mentality of the 1980s. The folds of her skirt camouflage the words belllum (war) and bella (beauty).
In the show, Bogie includes two pieces with his trademark Katedral, his allegory for deluded glory in a faith practiced amidst squalor. In his painting Katedral/Tubig at Langis, he transforms the katedral into an oil rig,
a commentary perhaps on our continued dependence on oil imports, a never-ending cycle that holds our industries hostage to those that control this commodity.
BluSkreen Ballroom is on view at the Artesan Gallery +Studio, 793 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 269765 from 19 June to 10 July 2009. For more information, please call (65)984-7817 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
PICTURES OF PICTURES, ANNIE CABIGTING
Annie Cabigting’s works make those of us interested in contemporary art history want to head back home to our computers and google
the artists she uses as references. She views her pieces as a way of continuing the work of artists whose works she loves, bringing them to light, putting her stamp on them, making them relevant to our present time.
This current show continues where she last left off from her 2007 solo show, Something To Do With Art, at Finale’s old space at the Lao Center in Pasay Road.
Then as now, she uses one of the works of “anarchitect” Gordon Matta-Clark. This time, she paints from a photocollage that documents Matta-Clark’s Splitting 1974, showing the cross-section of a house he had opened up and sliced through. Her piece, Splitting 32 (After Gordon Matta-Clark), comes together from four separate shaped canvases, angled just as the original image.
In this show’s version of Destroyed Painting (After Francis Bacon), she mourns the loss of yet another piece consigned to the garbage heap by the artist. Again, she paints from an image she came across while doing research on Bacon’s work, bringing back to life what did not meet his exacting standards. She
paints the piece in its destructed state, honoring Bacon by keeping his work as he left it, yet paying him tribute through this resurrection. In Barnett Newman and an unidentified woman who’s afraid of red, yellow, and blue she imagines how Newman and his female gallery owner would have surveyed his work after it had been vandalized, an act of desecration not done until after the artist’s death.
She also paints an untitled piece by conceptual artist, Giulio Paolini. Thanks to Annie’s show, I am now a total fan of his installations, and can’t read enough on him.
As a touch of whimsy, she includes a painting of a note left by art thieves.
In a sense, this exhibit brings us the third incarnation of these works of art. From their original state as installations and paintings, they have been transformed into photographs for documentation. And now, we see them here as wall-bound paintings on canvas. Can Annie now claim them as her own? That would be an interesting debate!
In the intervening years since that last solo show, Annie has done a series of works depicting viewers viewing masterpieces. By doing so, she turns the tables on spectators like us, transforming them from mere onlookers into the work themselves. In this show, we go back to our role as spectators, an audience to Annie’s kind of art.
Pictures of Pictures is on view from 16 June to 6 July at the Tall Gallery, Finale Art File, Warehouse 17, La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Pasong Tamo, Makati. Ph (632)813-2310 or visit http://www.finaleartfile.com