Lyra Garcellano’s Epistolary

September 6, 2011
Lyra Garcellano, "Aria"

Lyra Garcellano, "Aria"

After disappearing for a year, spending six months of 2010 in an Asian Cultural Council grant in New York, Lyra Garcellano has come back with wonderful new work.  In Epistolary, her solo exhibit at Finale Art File, Lyra has treated us to five paintings she describes as imprints.  Faint figures whisper from her canvases, barely discernible through her loose pastel strokes.  All of women, their floral frocks blur into the background, creating sheer, almost abstract, patterns.  Her paintings have always stood out for their delicacy and softness, and evoke a sense of romantic melancholia.  This set keeps to that sensibility,  progressing naturally from her previous pieces.  To me, they seem to project a more confident Lyra.

Lyra Garcellano, "Etcetera"

The show runs as one of three, all by women artists.  At Finale’s Tall Gallery, Keiye Miranda Tuazon has turned portraits into giant lockets for her show Strangely Familiar.  Marija Vicente, meanwhile, has taken over the gallery’s Video Room.

Lyra Garcellano, "Pentimento"

Epistolary by Lyra Garcellano, Strangely Familiar by Keiye Miranda Tuazon, and something something by Marija Vicente run from 2 to 27 September 2011 at Finale Art File, Warehouse 17, La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Pasong Tamo, Makati City.  Phone (632) 813-2310 or visit

Lyra Garcellano, "Aria" and "Mise-en-Scene"

Lyra Garcellano, "Enamore"

Keiye Miranda Tuazon's locket portraits

Marija Vicente, "something something", exhibit installation view



Lyra’s Lyrical Pain

September 9, 2009
Lyra Garcellano, "Turning and Turning in the Widening Gyre"

Lyra Garcellano, "Turning and Turning in the Widening Gyre"

Lyra Garcellano needed to bring herself out of a rut.  We can all relate to that.  Sometimes it just feels better to slosh around

Lyra Garcellano, "Nessum Dorma" and "Last Tango"

Lyra Garcellano, "Nessum Dorma" and "Last Tango"

in self-pity.  It takes too much effort to rise above a bad patch.  You can’t imagine yourself  out of the shadows.

Lyra Garcellano, "Parabola"

Lyra Garcellano, "Parabola"

Through her paintings, Lyra attempts to mirror these emotions.    She depicts her subjects as they lie immersed in the blues, floundering, helpless.  She paints in sepia, tones she has been using for most of her recent pieces.   Lyra fills her pieces with dainty details, soft folds on clothing here, windblown grass there.  She treads delicately on despair.

In the throes of despair, exhibit installation

In the throes of despair

She also exhibits two large- scale charcoal drawings of subjects on a free fall.  These hang from way up on the gallery’s far wall.  At

Lyra Garcellano, "How Deep Is The Ocean, How High Is The Sky I and II"

Lyra Garcellano, "How Deep Is The Ocean, How High Is The Sky I and II"

the center of the space, she mounts an installation of a ladder that casts a looming shadow in white cement.   The first few of the ladder’s rungs stand broken, illustrating the difficult climb ahead.

Lyra Garcellano

Lyra Garcellano

Eventually, like Lyra, you expect her subjects to get a grip, get a move on, get going with life.  But for the meantime, what a wondrous way to wallow!

Old Pain by Lyra Garcellano runs from 9 to 30 September 2009 at Finale Art File, Warehouse 17, La Fuerza Compound, Pasong Tamo, Makati.  Phone (632) 810-4071 or visit

NEW YEAR SALVO: Pinoy Blockbusters in Milan and Beijing Show

January 12, 2009


The year starts off with great news for us art lovers—- our favorite Filipino artists have been invited to a show that travels to Milan and Beijing.  Southeast is B(l)ooming opens on Febuary 11, with a special client preview sometime January,  at the Marella Gallery in Milan.  The show brings together the current crop of contemporary art darlings that dominate both the auction and gallery circuits of Southeast Asia. 

In Odd Sights,  Strange Sounds, Geraldine Javier’s fascination with taxidermy and relics comes to the fore with this piece that brings us into the ultimate, and most morbid, of all curio cabinets:  a hunter’s trophy room of conquered animals.  A typical sight in hunting lodges and homes of  afficionados of the sport,  perfectly preserved animal heads look on blankly, vanquished mementos that see nothing with their glass eyes.  Within the confines of the room, not the Aubusson or Persian rugs that we would expect, but a carpet of grass with more of their animal brethren.  Are these merely asleep or already annihilated?



Yasmin Sison-Ching’s three pieces, Flow, Flow 2, and Flow 3, continue her Turning Tide series of kids frolicking in the beach.  This time we find them floating in the water, skimming the surface of the sea, buoyant and light.  The sea itself, with its endless ebb and tide, speak to us of  memory and mutability.  In Yasmin’s own words, ” flow is about the time and magical spaces we make in remembering, … vivid but not substantial”.  A feeling we all get, but can’t quite put a finger on.   sison-flow3

garcia-skeletonNona Garcia once again makes us see the exquisiteness of desolated spaces  in Skeleton at the Feast, a piece culled from her trove of photographs that document abandoned rooms.  In her hands, there is softness and beauty in the grime and the muck of broken tiles, in the rust of  an incongruously-located wrought iron garden chair.  The fruitlessness of getting anywhere with the Blind Leading the Blind   hits us as we view Alfredo Esquillo Jr’s take on an image from the archives of Civil War documentarian (and father of Photojournalism) Matthew Brady.  How the hell do we know where we’re going?blind-leading-the-blind-for-email-1

In Alfred’s second piece, Balasa (Reinas de Suwerte) or The Queens of Chance, he manipulates another Mathew Brady image to make a commentary on this big gamble called life.  The paper plane represents fate that lands where it may, uncertainties and all part of the game of living.esquillo_balasa_for_email1

Invictus 1 and Invictus 2 pay tribute to Weboy, Lyra Garcellano’s much-loved toy.   Her companion from infancy, she imbues him with dignity and honor that belies his tattered, frayed, and faded appearance.  In him, the adoration belongs, for his “unconquerable soul”  that remains “bloody but unbowed“, to allow him to stay “the master of my fate” and the “captain of my soul“.  William Earnest Henley’s famous words, but are they for Weboy or for Lyra herself?garcellano-invictus1

























Annie Cabigting brings back a piece first exhibited in 2005 at the Finale Art File, and which also won for her that year’s Ateneo Art Awards.  Tearing Into Pieces, part of an installation called 100 pieces, recreates a photo of an incident that has become myth in the annals of Philippine art history:  Roberto Chabet’s ripping of a book on Philippine art and dumping this in a trash can outside the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1977.  Just as Chabet slashed up the book, so does Annie render work akin to a puzzle that can only be viewed completely by putting the pieces together.   cabigting-1

The other artists from the Philippines are Wire Tuazon, Emmanuel Santos, and Ronald Ventura.tuazon-sanity













For more details on the exhibit visit