In what must be a first in Manila, the newly-opened Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences in Salcedo Village in Makati has
launched its art program. Done hand-in-hand with Art Cabinet Philippines, the hotel makes its public areas and third floor gallery available as venues for showcasing art. Along with room service, guests can look forward to changing exhibits, even on each
floor’s elevator foyer.
To start things off, Albert Avellana curates In Focus: Mac Valdezco.
I have always felt that Mac Valdezco deserves more attention than she gets. Much like the artist herself, Mac’s pieces stand quiet and understated, making it easy to overlook their depth. You need a second, closer look to appreciate them. She uses yards and yards of twine, or layer upon layer of paper strips and cotton tape, to create the polymorphic sculpture and wall-bound pieces that have thrice landed her in the short list of the Ateneo Art Awards. One can only marvel at the imagination and diligence that painstakingly creates wonderful pieces from the most ordinary of soft materials.
For her Invisible Pilot series, Mac uses rolls and rolls of cling wrap to put together translucent items of clothing: a pair of trousers, a top, and a hoodie. I have even seen her include shoes and undies in this series. Invisible Pilot results from Mac’s reflections on the fate of our material selves when our souls have moved on. Once piled on, the overlays of saran turn milky white, looking exactly like ghostly possessions.
In Ascending Java Mac sews together multi-colored strips and squares of water proof fabric, the kind used for windbreakers and backpacks. You get an eye-catching eight-foot-long quilt made up of geometric, carefully-measured shapes. Move further back and you notice that the the few round swatches actually form a rope of Buddhist prayer beads. She also uses these beads as inspiration for Japa, stitching together small cheesecloth pouches. The piece does resemble a bunch of beads scooped together. So serene!
The two best pieces in the show, in my opinion, are Merge and Maroon. Fascinated with the washcloths and dishrags sold in wet markets or by street vendors, Mac asked the women who weave these from leftover fabric to do the same with velvets and suede sourced from a furniture exporter. Done mostly in bright reds, these organic forms deliver both a visual and tactile delight. Very sosyal these giant basahans!
Its great to see Mac Valdezco doing what she does best, delivering her own brand of art: sophisticated, spiritual, sublime.
In Focus: Mac Valdezco runs from 16 February to 14 March 2010 at the 3F Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences, 119 LP Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati. For more information, visit http://www.artcabinetphilippines.com