Bolipata and Borlongan, A Two-Part Invention

Elmer Borlongan, "Pamilyang Menthol", 1994

Elmer Borlongan, "Pamilyang Menthol", 1994

Elmer Borlongan, "Girl in a Bathtub", 2009 and Plet Bolipata, "

Elmer Borlongan, "Woman In The Bathtub", 2009 and Plet Bolipata, "Variations on the Blue Hour: Appassionata", 2008

In this show, Elmer Borlongan and Plet Bolipata bring out selected pieces of their own paintings from their personal collection. As the exhibit notes explain, the title of the show comes from a musical movement where two distinct melodies play simultaneously.  As we art

Elmer Borlongan, "Joy Ride"

Elmer Borlongan, "Joy Ride", 2005

buffs know, both approach art differently.  The social realism of Emong’s early work dwell on the underbelly of  Manila city life, of the toils and challenges of the marginalized urbanite.  Plet, educated in New York, comes from Western orientation and influences. She adores Manet.  Her pieces express a carefree and

colorful  joie de vivre.  How interesting to see the effect of each on the other’s art as you move from their earlier to their most recent work.  Anecdotes in the first person posted alongside the paintings situate the pieces for us.  We get a glimpse into the stages of their lives,

Plet Bolipata, "Red is the only color I dread when I'm lying in bed thinking I'm dead", 1999

Plet Bolipata, "Red is the only color I dread when I'm lying in bed thinking I'm dead", 1999

Elmer Borlongan, "Mobile Record Shop"

Elmer Borlongan, "Mobile Record Shop", 1999

both as individuals and as a couple, that gave impetus to particular works.

The exhibit includes Pamilyang Menthol, Emong’s dark and powerful piece made for 1994’s Thirteen Artists Awards exhibit.  Against a black background, he portrays a family of drifters, their features elongated and indistinct, bound together only by the puffs of smoke emanating from their cigarettes.  What a thrill to see this painting as I had only

Elmer Borlonga, "Self-portrait As a Little Boy With a Camera", 2001

Elmer Borlongan, "Self-portrait As a Little Boy With a Camera", 2001

enjoyed it before from photographs.  Another legendary piece, one that guys seem to all covet, Mobile Record Shop, with the distinct red Beetle and the Jimi Hendrix cassette,  hangs above Emong’s notes on the discipline with which he undertakes each working day.

Plet Bolipata, "The Absence of Green Makes the Heart Grow Fonder"

Plet Bolipata, "The Absence of Green Makes the Heart Grow Fonder", 2006

I like Plet’s collages.  I find The Absence of Green Makes The Heart Grow Fonder the most striking. She worked on this in Vermont during a residency grant in 2006.  As she narrates, she imagined Manet jumping out of a Balikbayan Box to guide her as she stood lost and alone in the

Elmer Borlongan, "Hibi",

Elmer Borlongan, "Hibi", 1992

cold, unable to find the house she was to live in.

Plet Bolipata, "Portrait of Joy and Sorrow", 1997

Plet Bolipata, "Portrait of Joy and Sorrow", 1997

From this personal collection of two artists, we also get an intimate  peek  into a marriage.  You imagine that just like any other, this one marks milestones and brooks compromises.  What is certain, though, is that Emong and Plet together produce beautiful art  just as Bach’s two-part invention made for beautiful music.

Bolipata and Borlongan: A Two-Part Invention runs from 14 to 26 August 2009 at the Artispace, 2F Glass Wing, Ayala Museum.  The exhibit is presented by CANVAS.  For more information, visit http://www.canvas.ph

Plet Bolipata, "Dinner With The Impressionists",

Plet Bolipata, " My Dinner With The Impressionists", 1993

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5 Responses to Bolipata and Borlongan, A Two-Part Invention

  1. jon says:

    hi trickie,
    thanks for the post! after seeing the works i went to visit Ayala Museum that very afternoon! My favorite is Hibi – one of the more unusual Emong works but just the same very stunning. I was pleasantly surprised with the notes Plet and Emong included for the show – i feel it gives each work a context of why they are personal to each artist and somehow makes the show interesting for me. I liked Plet’s 1990’s work which had more somber colors than the new work.

  2. […] Also see: Snippets from the Manila Art Scene’s post. […]

  3. Ben says:

    Thanks for making the paintings available on the internet. I live in West Virginia, USA, am a Filipino and need to see the Art of my birth.

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