Friday, January 23, 2009

Gus Albor

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I have finally had the good fortune to catch up with Gus Albor’s work over the past few days. I had seen his work on my computer via his web site, but invariably the small screen cannot do the justice to an art work that the meeting with it in person provides.

Albor currently has two exhibitions showing around town and a third that closed a couple of days ago.

“Art After 40” is a group exhibition at the Sining Kamalig Gallery in Cabao’s Gateway Mall. Details are a little hazy as the visit was the culmination of a very enjoyable and decidedly long lunch with arty friends and, would you believe, pen and paper were not to hand. From memory, he has five works on display, mostly large acrylic on canvas paintings whose neighbours intruded upon the conversation. That being said a smaller of his works remains vivid in my memory, its clarity of vision and the artist’s ability to step back from the every day is most impressive. Its title escapes me, but it is on the right behind the gallerist’s desk.

“Found and Lost Objects” is at Silverlens’ 20Square gallery which is small even by Manila standards, more of a walk in wardrobe than a tradition gallery. But Albor’s 11 pieces work well in the space. They are intimate works with a surface whimsicality that fortunately doesn’t obscure their often biting and/or satirical inspiration. For me the stand out piece was “Mother and Child” which in its Duchampian simplicity gave me a “wish I had thought of that” moment as together we explored this most fundamental of human relationships.

I missed his Alliance Française exhibition as Alliance Française is one of my least favourite exhibition venues. The restaurant exhibition combination always makes me feel conspicuous, as a stranger stares at my crotch as I stare at the picture above their head. And I am pretty sure it does little for the dining experience.

To catch the Sining Kamalig exhibition on the upper level of the Gatway Mall in Cubao you will need to pretty quick on your toes. “Found and Lost Objects” exhibition at 20Square gallery 2/F YMC Building, 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City is on until February 7. Whilst at 20Square you can also take in “Library Bookworks” in the SLab gallery. There are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.

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