Sunday, February 10, 2008

Stuff to Fill the Shelves of our Lives

Published in The What's On & Expat, February 10 2008

There is no denying that we live in an age of information overload. Like a flea market stall there are a thousand and one messages competing for our attention mostly underpinned by a commercial imperative. And usually associated with the hazy notion that the ownership of product X will improve our lives beyond our wildest dreams, Nirvana is just a few pesos away.

Artist Francesca Enriquez calls this idea into question in her latest exhibition at the Finale Art File Gallery at the La’O Centre in Makati. On display are eight, smallish oil on canvas, works that in the main abound with visual stimuli. The use of the thick paint and prominent brush work of the impasto style of painting add to the conglomeration of depicted objects that often seem unrelated in their juxtaposition.

In “Gimme Shelter” and “Maria and Kevin” interiors and exteriors inter mingle, the everyday and the exotic sit cheek by jowl jockeying for attention. They are all commodities you can take home, if not literally then at least on a postcard; stuff to fill the shelves of our lives. In “Maria” and the Red Series she extends the metaphor as she includes people into the works. Like the other clutter of things these figures battle for recognition amongst the bric-a-brac.

Enriquez embraces the truism that nature abhors a vacuum with gusto with the questions that drip from her paintings being about what fulfills our lives in this 21st Century of marketing overload? There are no “chocolate boxes” in this exhibition, nor as I recall any chocolate, but that rationale sure does get a work over.

Enriquez’s exhibition at the Finale Art File gallery, 4th floor, La’O Centre, corner of Pasay Rd and Makati Ave in Makati City continues until the 20th February. More information can be found on the internet at

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