Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm for the Birds

A collection of 75 manipulated coloured photographs along with 6 essays about the art and its reason d'etre.
Each of the images in "I'm for the Birds" is made from a single photograph. Once transferred from camera to computer the basic building blocks of the digital structure, the pixel display of the binary code, is identified. Then, various filters are used to enhance the elements of colour, line and form to give it a life of its own. The result is a new image that stands or falls on its own intrinsic aesthetic qualities, more often than not bearing little resemblance to the original narative of the intital photograph. It is a journey in which the image dictates what directions to take; my major contribution is knowing when a destination has been reached.

See inside "I'm for the Birds" here.
Purchase "I'm for the Birds" here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

New Work

A new work made a couple of days ago and like all my work made from one image capture.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Girls, Girls, Girls

One of the more fascinating aspects of viewing art is finding the glimpses of the artists’s personality that find their way into the work. For it is often said that a work of art is more about the artist than the subject with the latter being the means to reach the inner core of its creator. A rigor of thought and self appraisal must be applied to make truly interesting works that can communicate beyond the post card of here is. And the more honestly that is portrayed the greater the work that results.

The current exhibition at the Ricco Renzo Gallery employs the feminine to allow seven male artists explore that aspect of their psychics. Not surprisingly a goodly number of the works are nudes that range from the European centric pastels on paper along with an oil on canvas by Gig de Pio to an exploration of process from sketch to finished work with a Modigliani influence by Nino Quartana.

Ramon Diaz has contributed eleven works to the exhibition, a mixed bag of works which also use the nude as motive and includes several works with a golfing metaphor. That being said his mixed media on paper work “Awakening” is an intriguing work created with a delightful economy of line. Allan Cosio’s five acrylic and pastel on Pelon suede also explore the nude ranging from his three vixen like scarlet Barbie dolls as muse in ”Babae I” to the equine portrayal in “Mare” that hints at Peter Shaffer’s 1973 play Equus.

Yves Sadurni broadens this feminine dialogue with his socio political works that explore advertising in “Red Horse” to trans-gender issues in “Truth for Sale”. Whereas Cesar Caballero’s works are more concerned with painterly issues in which elements of design and decoration predominate. From the strategic placement of the rectangles in “Sueno Elemental I & II” to the incorporation of Jackson Pollock’s drip technique in his four mixed media on wood works which is decorative rather than substantive. Then there are the works by Jose A Ibay, six oil stick and acrylic on canvas portraits. Portrayed are strong individuals with opinions who when not looking you in the eye are at ease in their reverie.

To varying degrees each of the artists draws away the mask of the every day to reveal not only their view of the Babae but also a contemplation of their own femininity be it intellectual, decorative or carnal.

Babae, the exhibition continues at Ricco Renzo Gallery, LRI Business Plaza, 210 N. Garcia (formerly Reposo) St, Bel Air 2, Makati City until the 11th of May.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Influences - JMW Turner

Snowstorm (1842)

British painter JM William Turner pre-dated both the Impressionists (by about 50 odd years) and the Abstract Expressionist (by about 100+ years) with work that would have done either movement proud.
His ability to capture and render light intrigues. Reportedly his last words were "God is light" which are very hard to disagree with.

Sunrise with Sea Monsters (1845)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Images of a Poetic Landscape

The Australian outback is a land of vast distances, farms are measured in square miles and a traveler can go all day without meeting a fellow upon the road. It is a country that tests the resolve of the individual. It’s a country of contrasts, both benign and fraught with danger, a land of mirages, a land of primal urges and imaginings.

Fitz Herrera has never seen nor experienced the outback but his latest exhibition, “Everything Seems to be Floating” taps the well spring of that same imagining. His acrylics on canvas are landscapes of the mind, works that engage flights of fancy whilst having their feet firmly placed upon the ground.

From the nebula clouds of “Mood Song I & II” to the syncopated rhythms that lead to an overwhelming question in “Memory Spill”. From the domesticity of a life measured out with coffee spoons in “Coffee Spill I & II” to the polemic of both the wood and the trees in “What I’m Fighting for Is More Than Silver & Gold”. There is a modernist poetry in these often flat swathes of paint within the limited palette the artist employs.

As the imagination can play tricks upon the unsuspecting traveler in the arid landscape of the wide brown land, Herrera harnesses this facility to create works that can evoke a range of responses limited only by viewer’s enthusiasm.

“Everything Seems to be Floating” continues at Galerie Astra, 2nd floor, LRI Business Plaza, 210 N Garcia St, Bel Air 2, Makati City until the 1st of May.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"I expected better from British boys."

Yesterday was a day of enforced idleness. Some bright spark decided to take out a power pole with their truck and it was the best part of 12 hours before power was restored. If you know the confusion that reigns on Philippine power poles this was not a bad effort by Meralco (the local electrical supplier).

No power, no lights, no air con, no fans, no puter, eek no puter. How to entertain oneself? Ahh the television of yesteryear, a book, a quiet spot in the shade outside that catches any gentle passing zephyrs.

As chance would have it my hand fell upon William Goldings 1954 classic “The Lord of the Flies”. It had many years since I last perused these pages. In the light of the current machinations of the US Democratic Party’s efforts to choose a presidential candidate it was an insightful read.

I expect better from liberal candidates.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's Nice to be Asked

Just received this email:

Dear Artist,

We would like to invite you to exhibit your artwork in the next edition of the Florence Biennale.

After reviewing your artwork present in internet, the Internal Committee has expressed favourable opinion for your participation. The seventh edition of the Biennale will be held from 5 to 13 December 2009.

MMMM guess 100k other artists got the same message but when you consider that Google lists 428 million artists it could be a lot worse.

That they are aware of the financial constraints that most artists face and give enough advance warning (18 months) to get sponsorship together and assistance to get that help is encouraging.

The exhibition doesn’t receive any public neither private financial assistance. The exhibition is entirely funded by artists, that can search for sponsors independently in their own country. To those possible sponsors indicated by artists, Arte Studio will provide to send a formal request. Sponsors will be published both in the general catalogue and the website, as you can see by visiting the sponsor’s page present in our website, that helped some artists in the past biennales.

Will it happen? Dunno, but sure is nice to be asked.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Influences - Jackson Pollock /TS Eliot

These two go together like hand and glove

Autumn Rhythm (Number 50) 1950

"And I must borrow every changing shape
To find expression . . . dance, dance
Like a dancing bear,
Cry like a parrot, chatter like an ape.
Lest us take the air, in a tobacco trance-"

Portrait of a Lady - TS Eliot

Blue Poles (Number 11) 1952

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Titles Matter

published in What's on & Expat 13 April 2008

It is inevitable that a viewer will construct a narrative when contemplating a work of art. The viewer will compare what is presented to their reference base that the works’ title evokes for them. Even as the work of art moves towards abstraction, away from any references other than to itself and/or its process, the viewer will connect any dots the artist has left lying about. When provided, the title is pre-eminent and often the excellence of an art work comes to the fore when its references not only validate but expand the viewer’s initial references.

Two exhibitions that explore this aspect of making abstract art are currently on show in Metro Manila; “Nuestro” at the White Cube Gallery in the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and “Sound” at the ARIAS Artspace. Both exhibitions have an input from Bobby Nuestro, firstly as the artist in the self titled “Nuestro” exhibition and as curator for the “Sound” exhibition.

Nuestro presents 15 works on canvas and paper utilizing a subdued palette that at times verges on the monochromatic. Several of the works have an unfinished aura about them, disconnected elements floating within the picture plane almost like architectural doodles with notations attached with little connection to their titles. An impression that is compounded by works like “Child Play” in which a layer of over painting pulls the disparate background elements together and “Stones” which through its composition come across as completed thoughts. Then there are the three works “Riding bicycle with the sun behind my back”, “Sheep/ shepherd wheels” and “The measure of things”. Presented in a style that contrasts with the rest of the exhibition that recalls Picasso’s later works, Nuestro’s use of line and colour provides a unified composition for these works.

Nuestro’s curated exhibition, “Sound” showcases five works by Marlon Magbanua. These works also utilize disconnected elements but through his use of colour and some well placed lines Magbanua unifies his works. “Eutopic Suburbian Dreams I, II & III” are solid works that explore aspects of the urban landscape that is both intimate and hints at Google’s satellite maps. Whilst with “Gravity” Magbanua creates a tension in which the contained references resonate without the need of outside influences.

Although titling abstract art maybe a contradiction in terms, they do provide a gateway into the artist’s conception which, if astutely applied, can enrich the viewer’s appreciation.

Both exhibitions continue until the end of the month. “Nuestro” is at the White Cube gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Roxas Boulevard near Pablo Ocampo Street. ”Sound” is at ArIAS Artspace, 3rd Floor, LRI Business Center, 210 Nicanor Garcia st, Bel-air II.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Getting the Mix Right

Blurb is the new kid on the self publishing block. They have produced a propriety publishing aide that looks pretty good and produce their books at a very competitive price.

So what is the quality really like, you ask? Well they have produced a tomb How To Make A Book an "elegant 40-page, full-color hardcover book was created using Blurb's BookSmart™ software and showcases the bookstore quality we keep talking about:" At $14.95 it is a reasonable purchase to see what they can do.

Stepping through the purchase process was pretty much what one has come to expect from online purchasing until I hit the Shipping page. My shipping cost was going to be $68.47! Hello, it's going to cost me 4 1/2 times the cost of the book to get my hands on it.

Ain't gonna happen.

An alternative company ( can supply me with an 85 page hardcover full-color book for a shipping cost of $7.59.

As my marketing 101 professor always said "if the distribution is wrong the product is dead".

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Same Old, Same Old

I’m not a great one for competitions that can’t have a definitive outcome, like the number of runs of scored or the length of time taken to complete a task. When the outcome is based upon an opinion of an expert I just can’t get past the idea that is self serving. I mean a person who has built/is building a career from championing a particular style of an activity is suddenly going to have a road to Damascus moment when promoted to judge?

Three recent photographic competitions Hyeres 2008, The Beauty of the Best and PX3 have their short lists on the net. To say that they are predictable would be an understatement; they support their prospective aesthetic with zeal. Not to say there aren’t some nice pics on display, it’s just that they are variations on what has gone before. A maintenance of the status quo which kinder undermines the reason d’etre of fine art photography which Hyeres in particular supports, if their rhetoric is to be believed.

It’s all a bit like American Idol really, the closer they get to the winner’s circle the more they sound the same. Can you imagine Bob Dylan winning Idol, even getting past the qualifying rounds? I guess he will just have to be happy with his Pulitzer.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

New Work

A couple of new works from from the "at an exhibition" series.

Mall Art

Outside looking In

Monday, April 07, 2008

Influences - Piet Mondrian

Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue (1921)

Being a city slicker at heart I am invariable drawn to the later works of Piet Mondrian. There is a profound arbitrariness, almost akin to anarchy within his grid paintings. Like a jazz riff that flutters round the members of a band, each improvising their take before handing it on to the next player. An interplay of disparate actors within a maze, the life of a city continually shapes and reshapes as influences interact before continuing their journey.

Watch his paintings dance, not a stately waltz, but the dance of a city. I have had the good fortune to visit New York, and he got it right, you know. And Manila, an affordable alternative with better weather.

Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942-1943)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Mall Photos Left Wanting

The choice of venue can and does influence the perception of the works presented. Currently showing at Greenbelt 3 is the latest offering from Bravo Filipino, an offshoot of the Filipinas Heritage Library, with the exhibition “9 Photographers: Shared Moods”. Snaking their way through the mall walkway are 51 photographs presented in the high tech setting silver scaffold and exposed flood lights.

Without doubt the works presented are of the highest technical quality, framed exquisitely, as art decor should be. Delightful as the works maybe from Emil Davocol’s excellent rendering of fruits and bowl with its old world masters overtones to Frankie Callaghan’s reflected portrait of a tree they are renderings of objects rather than being the object itself.

All the works in this exhibition have been created by master crafts persons but none of them transcends their craft to become an artwork that exists independently of its subject matter. The limitations of the photographic medium are not tested with these works as they flit superficially across their subject matter.

For those who want pretty pictures upon their walls these are the works that will fit the bill, for those who demand a little more it is suggested you look elsewhere. “Nine Photographers: Shared Moods” continues in the Greenbelt 3 Mall to April 8.

Parables with F Holes

In November last year Jason Montinola had the solo exhibition, Deceit. Now a mere four months later he is showing seven new works in his latest solo exhibition, Lamintations, again at Megamall’s Big and Small Gallery.

With this current exhibition Montinola has employed a warmer palette although his concern with social issues continues albeit with current political overtones. The works are presented as parables with a cast of disparate characters, some of whom are darkly humourous, through which he extends their meaning past the obvious.

These figurative works question a range of issues ranging from the loss of innocence in “One Cold Night” and “Too Late for Roses” to aspects of the roots of torture in “The Sadest Story Every Told”. Then there is “Deceit” in which politically correct versions of Tweedledum and Tweedledee stand on the edge of a constructed precipice flanked by a world weary bishop and a nun with an inconvenient truth landscape at their backs.

Linking these works is the motive of F holes, those holes in violin family of instruments that lets music out. From the bishop’s mitre in “Deceit” to the eye make up of the innocent female character in “The Sadest Story Ever Told”. And as the eye make up of the females protagonists in “One Cold Night” and “Too Late for Roses”. Which culminate in the striking portrait of a beautiful young woman with the same eye make up and a Christmas bauble at her throat, entitled “F Holes”.

These are a powerful series of images that stay on the minds retina long after having left their presence and it is a tribute to Montinola’s skill that these works avoid falling into the inartistic trap of propaganda. Lamintations continues at The Big and Small Gallery, 4th Floor of Megamall in Ortigas City until 7th April.