Monday, November 26, 2007

On Chips and Concrete

First impressions are often unreliable, informed more by the confrontation of preconceptions than reality. When first arriving in the Philippines via Manila’s International Airport the contradiction with the tourist brochures of swaying palms on golden beaches by azure seas couldn’t be more stark. It is a grey metropolis that lays panting rather than basking under the tropical sun. But delving beneath this austere first impression one finds a multi faceted country of many and varied hues and textures.

So it is when entering the Artists Run Independent Art Space’s (ArIAS) latest exhibition “Circuit and Structure.” On the left are the large colourful renderings of cell phone innards by Milimar Onal, on the right are the subdued small abstracts of Choei Delo Santos. And with the pull of TV travel show the eye is drawn to Onal’s work.

On well worked impasto white grounds Onal presents the intricate greens, golds and reds of electronic circuitry. Spindly lines connect satellites to a central mother ship, small packets of information waiting to inform. Attractively packaged these works explore the phenomenon that is the Filipino love affair with instant communication to go.

Delo Santos’ smaller works present a more contemplative reading of life in a city such as Manila. Hard edged geometric shapes filled with a muted rainbow of bush strokes sit on the blue and yellow hues of grey. Here is an older experience informed by its history and climate, the structure that underpins the glitz and the gloss.

These two bodies of work coexist well together each giving substance to the other. As one attracts the other deepens the experience. Circuit and Structure continues until the end of the week at the ArIAS Gallery on the 3rd floor of the LRI complex at 210 N.Garcia (Reposo) St, Makati.

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