Boxed At Blanc

I expected the usual chock-a-block exhibit of paintings that Manila galleries love to mount every December to wrap up the year.

Ling Quisumbing Ramilo, "Salvavida"

Instead, I walked into an intelligent discourse among women artists that yielded a variety of enjoyable pieces.

Jhoan Medrano, "Common Denominator"

Initially, curators Lisa Chikiamco and Rica Estrada conceived the show as a chain of thoughts and reactions passed down among forty female visual arts practitioners, sort of like an artistic Pass The Message or Telephone Tree. Each artist’s piece had to be her take on her discussion with another artist in a previously-assigned link.  After or while completing her piece, she then engages with the next artist to allow that artist to respond and create her own piece.   In the end,  as deadlines drew nearer, they ended up with four groups engaged in four streams of thought.

To be honest, I think most artists produced works that kept to their usual inclinations rather than addressing the issues raised in their dialogues.  However, as the exhibit installation includes their deliberations transcribed and mounted alongside their

Anna Varona's hanging piece at left

works, we viewers stay engrossed and involved.  I particularly enjoyed seeing work from young artists whom I hardly get to view, like Reine Shih‘s Baro of brightly-colored fabric wrapped around a metal grid and Mimi Tecson‘s spray-painted assemblage of toys, Of Echoes, Mirrors, and Round TablesAnna Varona’s hanging piece fabricated from license plates and blinking lights definitely caught everyone’s attention.  I thought it very well done.  Ling Quisumbing Ramilo did a Sarah Lucas and created art from her half-smoked cigarettes augmented by butts collected from other artists.  Literally a piece to die for.  But then, I always like Ling’s works.  I also enjoyed MM Yu‘s lightbox of her photocollage of stuffed toys.

Lea Lim, "Remember"

Boxed has been an annual project of artists Jay Pacena and Buen Calubayan.  All in all, this fourth edition was not a bad way to spend an hour or two. Or in my case, to celebrate getting out of the sickbed.

Exhibit installation view

By Karen Flores

Janet Balbarona, "She Picked The Sweetest One"

By MM Yu

Boxed:  The Start of a Conversation runs from 12 December 2009 until 2 January 2010 at Blanc Compound, 359 Shaw Blvd. Interior, Mandaluyong City.  Phone (632) 752-0032 or visit

Reine Shih, "Baro"

Mimi Tecson, "Of Echoes, Mirrors, and Roundtables"

Mimi Tecson, "Of Echoes, Mirrors, and Roundtables"

Brenda Praico, "In The Waiting Room"

Yasmin Sison Ching, "First Run"

Another installation view


2 Responses to Boxed At Blanc

  1. Hey Trickie!

    Thanks for coming to the show! To your ‘To be honest, I think most artists produced works that kept to their usual inclinations rather than addressing the issues raised in their dialogues’, I would like to say that I do agree with you. I hope you got to read my exhibition notes wherein I voiced my disappointment in how the artists responded to my initial thoughts and the outcome completely did not come out as I had envisioned it. However, I suppose it is just really the start and I think everyone did learn a little something from the process. I am interested in redoing the exhibition with modifications and redoing it again and again and again until I am satisfied with the dialogue that comes of it. But I do appreciate your observation as we really need to voice our opinion beyond the ‘okay yan!’ kind of mentality that pervades our culture.

    Thanks again for coming and I guess we’ll be seeing more of each other around the Manila art scene! cheers!

    • manilaartblogger says:

      Glad that you’re back Lisa! As you said last night, working with a fewer number of artists may make your concept work better. But this show still has better pieces than the current crop of December group shows. Also, as in the childhood game pass the message, the last message always comes out distorted. So maybe that’s to be expected? Looking forward to how you move this on!

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