Riel Hilario’s Recreates the Night Sky while Neil Arvin Javier Packs Them In

Riel Hilario, "From The Wreckage, A Silent Reverie", detail


Karl Jung defines projections as issues that our consciousness cannot face, concerns we may end up expressing via our dreams.  Riel Hilario has mined this explanation, along with a youthful obsession for astronomy, to create two sets of works for Astral Projections, currently on view at The Drawing Room.  The exhibit features his most recent series of sculpture, pieces that draw on his background as a wood carver from an Ilocano family of santo makers. This heritage continues to frame

Riel Hilario, "Traveller, Repose and Dream Among My Leaves"

his current work. The chiseled gessoed faces of his figures, and the severe, muted palette he adopts, hark back to traditional Filipino religious sculpture.

Riel Hilario, "The Virgin Setting On The Mountain"

Riel describes one group of works as portraits of the night sky.  As he explains, “I took specific constellations, part of the celestial sphere, and reinterpreted them as sculptural objects.”  The four-legged I have all the riddles to all your answers borrows from the constellation Leo, while Bearing The Burden of Light and A Cartesian Enigma: Joshu’s Dog look to Canis Major and Minor.  The female figures of The Crab Ascendant and The Virgin Setting On The Mountain follow the configurations of Cancer and Virgo.

Riel Hilario, "All Dreams of the Soul End Up in the Body"

Observing the stars has led Riel to dreams of the forest, the inspiration for the second set of works in the show.  One may describe the female figures in this group as tree maidens.  They either stand with their arms spread out, mimicking branches, or tall and sturdy, with leafy outgrowths.  We find familiar devices in this bunch, Riel’s signatures if you will.  For instance, the birds that populate the steel branches of From the Wreckage, A Silent Reverie sport human faces; he uses these hybrid creatures repeatedly, calling them guardians or aniwaas.  The monkey, symbol of the primal and the playful, appear in two of the works: They Are Often Most Profound When They Seem Most Crazy and Traveller, Repose And Dream Among My Leaves.

Riel Hilario, "Astral Projections", exhibit installaiton view

Riel Hilario, "They Are Often Most Profound When They Seem Most Crazy"


Meanwhile, the other side of the gallery hosts art of an entirely different nature, but not any less interesting.  Neil Arvin Javier, street artist, punk musician, and self-published comic

Neil Arvin Javier, "Ang Mamatay ng Dahil Sa 'Yo"

book creator mounts an exhibit of his collages.  I first saw Arvin’s work at the homecoming show of TUP Alumni in October 2010 at the CCP.  For that show, Implosion, he submitted a large-scale collage, and since then, I’ve always been curious to see more.

Neil Arvin Javier, "Ako...Ikaw...Kami...Sila...Tayo"

Arvin creates his psychedelic pieces from found paper products:  empty pizza boxes, stickers, magazines, cut out gallery catalogues.  He then finishes them off with drawings or painted flourishes, either done by hand or sprayed on graffiti style.  While he may work with less of Riel’s intellectual examination, his pieces are just as carefully considered.  I’ve always taken a shine to well-made collages, and I find Arvin’s work, tinged as they are with an urban Pinoy edginess, quite appealing.  Moreover, a conversation with him will reveal an artist genuinely committed to the lowbrow, skater lifestyle.

Neil Arvin Javier, "Hell...O Hayop, Pure Open Slot"

Neil Arvin Javier's collection of small collages

Astral Projections and Packed! run until 6 August 2011 at The Drawing Room, GF Metrostar Bldg, 1007 Metropolitan Avenue, Makati City. Phone (632) 897-6990 or visit http://www.drawingroomgallery.com

Thank you to Yorkie Gomez for the additional photos of Riel’s show.

Riel Hilario, "Call No More For Penguins (The Unicorn)"

Riel Hilario, "When Safely Ashore Take Not The Raft On My Back"

Riel Hilario, "From The Wreckage, A Silent Reverie", detail

Riel Hilario, "Bearing The Burden of Light"

Riel Hilario, "The Crab Ascendant"

Luis Lorenzana appreciating Arvin's work

Neil Arvin Javier, "Mahal Kita Ba't Di Ka Maniwala"

Neil Arvin Javier, "3 Mini Cheese Past"

Neil Arvin Javier, "Hate Will Tear Us Apart"


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: