Except for retrospective exhibitions, where an artist’s life’s work is displayed, an exhibition is usually developed around a theme be it subject, style or technique. The better exhibitions combine these elements but invariably the works displayed are discrete as the artist explores their chosen theme. But from time to time an exhibition comes along that through its presentation extends its potential so that it becomes more than the sum of its parts.
And so it is with one of the current exhibitions at Silverlens Gallery. Johann Espiritu’s “Duality/Symmetry” exhibition is as much a conceptual installation as it is a series of photographs that explore the semiotics of pairs of signifiers that lead to an Eliotesque “overwhelming question”.
Like a modern narrative poem, it starts with a prologue of 8 colour Duratrans depicting childhood diversions entitled “Bored Games” 1 to 8. These are followed by 10 untitled diptychs, mostly in black and white with the odd splash of colour and sepia, arranged like poetic stanzas. The architecture of the gallery has been incorporated into the display and like the turning of a page provides a pause in the flow of these pairs of disparate depictions combined by a legal mind. And although a particular pairing may capture the eye like a quote that resonates, the challenge of decoding the duality of symmetry, from prologue to final stanza, is that which provides the mental gymnastics.
Sharing the Silverlens space is Frankie Callaghan’s “Stranger” exhibition. A series of 12 colour photographs taken at night which explore the sense of nocturnal otherness, the alienation of imagination caused wonderings from an urban perspective. These are discrete works with each piece existing within its own aesthetic.
In 3 of his works Callaghan has used Chromatic Aberration, coloured lines introduced by a lens that photographers traditionally spend their way to eliminate, as a design element. In “Rooftop Gardener” and “Guarding the Woods” it provides balance to the composition by increasing prominence to an otherwise overwhelmed section of the image. But in “Clothes Lines” it seems to be overdone capturing the eye at the expense of rest of the image. That being said “In God We Trust” and “Nightfall” are two strong works that speak directly to the artist’s concerns of things that go bump in the night.
“Duality/Symmetry” and “Stranger” are on display at the Silverlens Gallery, 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City until the 9th of August. More information can be found at www.silverlensphoto.com.