Smiley Happy People and Maria Jeona

Maria Jeona, detail, "Monogamist Kultur at Si Sexy at Maraming Stretchmarks at Malalaking Butas ng Ilong Long Long"

Early last week, I spent 14 hours straight in serious contemplation of art, and the better part of the next few days writing about it.  Even I needed a break from the art overload.  Enter Maria Jeona and her first solo show, mounted at SLab’s 20Square, the perfect antidote to all that cerebral activity.  She gave me just what I needed to get back into the swing of Manila’s art scene after a (very brief!) hiatus.

A bunch of drawings

Sure Sure Happy Happy Picture Picture feels so refreshing.  Artist Bea Camacho describes the experience of viewing the exhibit as akin to walking into the artist’s studio.  Just imagine the space as one huge cork board. Or the whole show as one giant collage.  Jeona’s doodles, cut-outs, drawings, and various-sized paintings hang in a seeming random fashion along with scribbles and Post-It notes.  You get a riotous burst of neon and a

Exhibit installation

whole load of fun!  I especially love her shaped canvases of female nudes, oil paintings executed like stylish illustrations.  And their titles! LOL! Monogamist Kultur Si Sexy At Maraming Stretchmarks At Malalaking Butas ng Ilong Long Long is a mixed media piece made up of two shaped canvases of reclining figures.  Jeona sticks a drawing of a pig snout on the nose of the larger figure. She paints Ms Wordstage Ms Wordstage Binarbiqung Legs Ni using a more traditional, rectangular canvas, yet

Maria Jeona, "I Held Her And Held Her & Held Her"

achieves the same exuberant effect.  Somewhat like Cecily Brown, you have to look closely at the jumbled strokes before you discern her figures:  a gruesome smile plastered on a girl’s face, a hint of a fleshy thigh.

Another view of exhibit installation

I had actually seen some of Jeona’s work before, at a group show in Manila Contemporary and some pieces at another exhibit in Kaida.  Even then, I thought her work very good.  But now, after this show, I look forward to seeing what she does next.

Maria Jeona, "Welcome To The Family" and "We R Family"

Sure Sure Happy Happy Picture Picture worked for me because it felt easy and light.  Wala lang. Fun fun!

Sure Sure Happy Happy Picture Picture runs from 7 to 31 July 2010 at 20Square, inside SLab, 2F YMC Bldg. 2, 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City.  Phone (632) 816-0044 or visit

Maria Jeona, "Sure Sure Happy Happy Picture Picture"

Maria Jeona, "Ms Wordstage Ms Wordstage Binarbiqung Legs Ni"

Collage Detail

Maria Jeona, "Even The Landscape Resembles You"

Maria Jeona, "Honey Hunny" and "Hello Hello"


One Response to Smiley Happy People and Maria Jeona

  1. Rene says:

    Great blog! Wish I had known about it before I left Manila, will know better next time! Hope you can check out my show at CCP!

    Thanks for your work!

    Rene Marquez

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