Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Modern Line in Nudes.

Published in What's on & Expat 27 January 2008

The nude as a subject for artists has been around for thousands of years, although when Greece ruled the world it was the male nude that predominated. It wasn’t until the Renaissance that the female nude started to become popular. In the intervening 600 years, she has come to overshadow he as the artist’s choice of subject matter.

Continuing in this tradition Janice Liuson-Young’s exhibition of nudes at Megamall’s Artasia are of the female variety. Unlike the voluptuous women of renaissance or the pin up style favoured by contemporary photographers, her nudes are light and airy drawings. At first glance they seem to be charcoal or pastel renderings, but closer investigation reveals they are acrylics on canvas.

For these works Liuson-Young is as much concerned about her marks on the canvas and their relationship with picture plane as she is about rendering the female form. As in “Figure V” and “Figure VII” where she uses the head and upper torso to create a diagonal slash within the rectangle of canvas. In Figure VIII she creates a sweeping line to divide the canvas vertically whilst in Figure VI she breaks up the space horizontally. The detail of the body in these latter two works is only hinted at.

That being said in four of the 14 works in Liuson-Young’s exhibition she has rendered her subjects more fully. In Figures XII and XIV she has added a second lighter colour to her palette to flesh out her subjects. Whilst in Figures II and III she has worked the backgrounds to enhance the mood expressed by her subjects. In “Figure II” the red and orange background underscores the sitter’s challenging expression whilst the blues and yellows of “Figure III” provide a serenity for this demure model.

Liuson-Young’s works have a modern feel to them which is complemented by her choice of framing. She presents her works as squares within squares with the larger square, the frame, being a solid black that contrasts well with the canvas of the painting and its content. The overall effect draws the eye into the subject matter and would compliment a contemporary d├ęcor very nicely.

Janice Liuson-Young’s exhibition continues until the 15th of February at Artasia Gallery, 4th Level Art Walk, Building A, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Manila Manila

Artists throughout the centuries have used a recurring motif in their work as they explore the ideas associated with it, be it the Madonna and Child of religious inspired works to the formaldehyde tanks of British artist Damien Hirst. For Spanish artist Cesar Caballero it is a Pinocchio type character often adorned with a red mitre that often makes an appearance in his work.

And so it is in Caballeros’ latest exhibition, along with Italian artist Nino Quartana, at Calerie Astra on the 2nd floor of the LRI Business Plaza. Entitled “Manila Manila” this exhibition displays each of these expat artists’s view of living in the Philippine capital.

The overt religiosity that imbues daily life in the Philippines is evident in both their works. With the afore mentioned Pinocchio character and a rendering of the Madonna and Child in “He Lived” by Callabero and as the crowning image in Quartana’s monumental “One Year in Manila”. A mixed media work of 52 photographs and drawings encased in Perspex that covers the full gamut of Manila scenes from the ubiquitous jeepney via the military to cityscapes.

Whereas Callabero’s works are big and brash abstract expressionist inspired mixed media pieces, like the man himself, Quartana uses a range of mediums, painting both acrylic and oil, photographs as well as mixed media to express his ideas.

If you want to see this outsiders commentary on Manila you will have to be quick as it closes on 1st of February. But till then it can be seen at Gallerie Astra, 2nd Floor LRI Business Plaza, 210N Garcia St (formerly Reposo), Makati City.

Friday, January 25, 2008

At an Exhibition I & II


More pics from the Australia Day exhibition which opened a couple of days before the actual event

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Roof II

Found this when at an exhibition to celebrate Australia Day last night. It's a worry that the roof of the gallery was so interesting.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Photojournalism Defined by its Space

Published in The Expat Newspaper, 20 January 2008

Documenting the human condition is the mainstay of the photojournalist’s craft, especially in the realms of the highly lauded photographic genre of black and white photography. And American photographer, Charles Harbutt, in his current exhibition at the Silverlens Gallery succeeds admirably in showing us his view of life on the streets. With his 1982 Yucatan photograph, “Monday Morning” being a captivating portrayal of the start of the working week.

But Harbutt’s work is more than just people and their predilections. He has a fine sense of the abstract qualities of space within the picture frame, which he uses to good effect. As in the relationship between the two buildings depicted in “Rue Schoelcher” that whilst being ages apart are connected by his spatial rendering of the sky. And the tree and wall in “Hacienda Chichen” where his use of light and dark spaces creates an abstract of haiku proportions.

When Harbutt combines these spatial design skills with his observation of people, then the magic of his photography comes to the fore. In works like “Heart of Dallas”, “Man on Escalator” and “Scrivener” there is an intriguing disconnect between the people and their environment. The people are almost ant like in Harbutt’s abstracted cityscapes and blissfully unaware of their insignificance whilst being an anonymous centre of attention. How many of us have been too involved with the details of our daily life to notice our fifteen minutes?

This sense of irony also informs the poster piece for the exhibition, “Chrysler Building” and the darkly comedic “Running Man”. The nonchalant indifference of the man in the glass and concrete box to one of New York’s best known landmarks in the former and the quite desperation of escape from the oppressive industrial cityscape of Liverpool in the latter.

In the black and white photographic genre Harbutt’s stylized abstractions complement his photojournalism enhancing the image’s story with a lyrical simplicity. And for their first exhibition for 2008, Silverlens have set themselves a high bench mark for the rest of the year. For those interested in art in general and photography in particular, Charles Harbutt’s exhibition is a must see.

The exhibition continues at the Silverlens Gallery, 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City until the 9th of February. More information and a sneak preview of the work can be seen online at

Friday, January 18, 2008


One of the high rise condo units up by the Wack Wack Golf course. Which just has to be the best name ever for a golf course.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

First work for 2008

Its been a bit of a slow start to the new year but here is my first work for the year. Kinda dark and mysterious and as yet untitled. Any ideas for a title appreciated.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

It’s a Shrinking World

Published in What's On & Expat, 6 January 2008

It was 4 am in Edmonton, Canada and 3am in California as photographers Sherwin Andal and Donna Samonte were seated at their computers, talking in real time to friends and relatives in Manila. Not so surprising in this age of the internet and instant messaging except that Andal and Samonte along with their friends and relatives were at an exhibition opening. It was 7 pm in Manila and early morning half a world away as the ribbon was cut to open the “Layered Images of My World” exhibition at Makati City’s One Workshop Gallery on the last Friday of 2007.

“Layered Images of My World” is an exhibition of photographs from China, New Zealand, London, Colorado, Arizona, New Jersey and Canada by Filipino expats capturing their new homelands. The exhibition was curated by One Workshop Gallery’s artistic director, Ross Capili, who searched the internet to find photographers who “present their respective worlds in an outstanding way”. Seven photographers were chosen with their works being printed, framed and hung in the Philippines.

The transformation from the small screen to the gallery wall has brought the full beauty of the selected photographs to life. There is the luscious colour of Donna Samonte’s Arizona and New Jersey landscapes. Along with the high key black and white renderings of Colorado’s Wild West heritage with modern additions by Annie Neis and the spectacular grandeur of the New Zealand landscape captured by Bernard Billedo. This contrasts with the personal response to the vibrancy and the old world charm of London by Chris Rudio and the high definition renderings by Red Ognita’s Beijing experience. Along with the semi abstract impressions of China by Moetwain and the multi layered, intimate floral studies from Canada by Sherwin Andal.

This international co-operation between a local gallery and photographers from around the world has brought the global village one step closer. Whilst photo sharing via the internet has taken a firm hold, it is only when a photographer’s work is shown in all its glory as a fine art print that its full potential is realised. And “Layered Images of My World” has done just that.

This exhibition at the One Workshop Gallery, La Fuerza Plaza II, 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue corner Sabio St., Makati City continues until the 28 January. More information is available at