The first day of the week brought in the sunshine, a welcome balm to a city reeling from images of misery and destruction. Later in the day the rains may start pouring again, pounding relentlessly on bodies and belongings that haven’t recovered, still not inured to another onslaught. I thought to seize the best of the day, to take a few hours break from dismal reality. I headed north, and after
seeing Boston Gallery’s current exhibit, knew I had made the right choice.
In 2002, a group of friends, barkada, Fine Arts students all, came together for the group show, Toys, at Ayala Museum. Soon after that, they started their artistic careers in earnest. As what usually happens as occupations flourish, schedules get more difficult to reconcile. It took seven years for the group to reunite for another exhibit, but what a good show they have put together. Cloud Cuckoo Land brings us to a place of fantasy, where imagination reigns, from sweet fairy tale longings to dark and grisly fears.
Rodel Tapaya shows four pieces that feature his usual folk tales. This time though, he veers away from his norm, adopting looser strokes, allowing for drips, making his images less distinct. Rodel also experiments using black as his base, piling lighter colors atop, rather than the other way around. His paintings here feel eerier, more fantastic, spectral. His figures look pale and ghostly. I love them! I love it especially that even with relatively smaller works, Rodel surprises us with the unusual.
Marina Cruz also moves away from the series of interior scenes that she has been showing for the past year. In keeping with the concept, she deals with the imaginary world of children’s stories, albeit choosing to take off from less innocuous ones. In Where The Wild Things Are, she portrays a goblin-like doll from the goblins that
join Max in the book’s adventures. Mirror Mirror On The Floor shows a little girl swept up in a world of fables, caught up with her reflection on what seems to be an infinite black hole.
Paulo Vinluan’s works have always dealt with the ludicrous and surreal. He sticks to his narratives told through images rendered in the manner of comic book illustrations. Butch Estandarte’s lone work is a digital print of two atomic bombs, fuzzy and unreal
under smoke glass.
Both Troy Ignacio and Lea Lim show beautiful pieces from opposite ends of the spectrum. On the one hand, Lea’s dainty and romantic pieces, installed as a triptych in the upper gallery’s long wall, hark to her girlish hopes and dreams. She uses bright
pink as her focal color, softened with tones of gray. Lea applies gesso and white paint in patterns that add texture, like marzipan, to her
images. On the extreme right, she hangs a white swing of twine and wood. You can imagine the endless hours spent weaving daydreams on a swing such as this.
Troy deals with imagination of the macabre variety in his oil on paper paintings. He exhibits strong and powerful works, a dark and menacing series he calls Silent Witness. His figures grip you, a haunted manse, a slaughtered cat, a trickle of blood, all peppered with the evil eye. Troy’s four works
portend an impressive comeback for this former Ateneo Art Awards finalist.
I spent less than an hour taking in Cloud Cuckoo Land, immersed in the alternate reality of six artists, just long enough to clear the mind and prepare for the next deluge. Sure enough, on the car radio, they spoke of storm clouds brewing over the Pacific and strong winds making its way to our shores once more.
Cloud Cuckoo Land with Marina Cruz, Butch Estandarte, Troy Ignacio, Lea Lim, Rodel Tapaya, and Paulo Vinluan runs from 6 to 21 October 2009 at Boston Gallery, Boston corner Lantana Streets, Quezon City. Phone number (632) 722-9205.