Now this is my kind of group show. The concept is simple, and you don’t get overwhelmed by the range of pieces on view. Four
artists seem to be a good number for the venue, both to give each artist enough space to showcase their work, and for the viewer to take in the variety of styles present.
Beautiful Inside My Head Forever explores contemporary portraiture. Curator Peewee Roldan worked with the artists, and they’ve come up with their own take on what makes for portraits. Two of them, Bea Camacho and Martha Atienza, have drawn self representations. Bea illustrates how her person can be transformed into something as anonymous, unsubjective, and unemotional as numbers on a graph. She measured her body, from the tip of her head to the soles of her feet, taking her dimensions at half inch intervals. The three pieces that result from this exercise deliver a pretty sobering image: the totality of a person reduced to nothing more than lines drawn with the aid of a ruler.
Martha works with video. As an artist of dual nationality, she spends half of her time in the beaches of Bantayan Island, the other half in Europe. Bantayan Island, off the coast of Cebu, has a strong tradition of folk Catholic celebrations dating from the Spanish times. One of the oldest churches in the Visayas and Mindanao can be found here. The place comes alive with tourists during Easter, eager to take part in its Lenten rituals. While she calls the island home, the natives consider Martha a bit exotic. In her film, Aba Reina Si Maria, we see her decked in white, garbed quite similar to the life-sized santos stored in her family home. What I get from the clip I caught is her depiction of herself as spectacle. The islanders look at her in the same way they regard the life-sized saints they use for their processions, as part of their life, but not quite.
Pow Martinez seems to be the artist du jour, currently making waves with collectors due in part to his very distinct style. Here we see two more of his anti-painting paintings, done in the layers of squirts and dabs which we have come to identify with him. He calls one of them Wife. Hmmm, portrait of his ideal woman, perhaps? Sam Kiyoumarsi’s untitled photo diptych gives us twin portraits without faces. It takes awhile to discern that he uses a female subject for one of them. Both have his subjects in similar poses, their heads bowed, their hair slightly disheveled. I get the same feeling I get when I look at Nona Garcia’s painted portraits of the backs of people’s heads, as if I’ve chanced upon a private moment. I have this urge to give these two a nudge, just to make my presence felt.
Beautiful Inside My Head Forever runs from 7 to 31 July 2010 at SLab, 2F YMC2 Bldg., Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City. Phone (632)816-0044 or visit http://www.slab.silverlensphoto.com