Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Shopping List to Die For

Billed as “The Sale of the Century” the hype seems not to be displaced as one of the world’s greatest private art collections goes under the hammer. Monday was the first day of a 3 day auction and contained a who’s who of nineteenth and twentieth century art.

Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Cezanne, Seurat, Toulouse Lautrec, Klimt, Mondrian, Munch, Rousseau, Braque, Picasso, Matisse, Leger, Duchamp, Modigliani and Klee graced the block.

The Yves Saint Laurent collection is being broken up, sold to the highest bidder and from the prices being obtained it makes one wonder if the news reports of the credit crunch are just a ploy to sell more soap powder.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Oh My

As part of The Philippines International Visual Arts Fest 09 (PIVAF09) there is a series of free lectures covering a range of subjects of interest to those involved and appreciative of the visual arts. Covering photography, conservation, advertising and media they are presented by some well known figures in the Philippines art scene including George Tapan, Lyn Yusi, Emily Abrera, Ross Capili and Jay Alonzo.

After each of the lectures an Open Forum is planned in which questions raised in the lecture and other concerns can be discussed. And your humble scribe is a panelist along with Ross Capili for the forum following Jay Alonzo’s “Photography for Everyone” lecture. This will be at Robinson’s Forum in Mandaluyong on Sunday 22 February with Jay kicking off the proceedings at 2pm.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Messengers in Monochrome

The winged messenger of the Gods is a common motive of religions world wide throughout the ages. In his second offering of photographic constructions “The Passing of Light II: Book of Illumination”, Emmanuel Santos presents a cavalcade of earthly manifestations of these celestial visitations.

Through careful darkroom manipulations Santos combines studio and location shots to create intriguing parables that resonate in a 21st Century world. His choice of monochromatic presentation give these works a timeless feel, at times almost like found objects from another age. For each of the 30 works is an object in its own right, the hallmark of good art, rather than the recording of an object. And, although a particular piece may speak specifically to you, the overwhelming power of this suite of photographs comes from the sum of its individual parts.

With its multitude of references both mythological and from the history of art, viewing Santos’ art is a journey from the Renaissance to the modern day. From the light that illuminates from within via the exploration of multicultural references to the confrontation of the personal, these photographs require multiple viewings to discover all of their revelations. That Santos’ angels narrate an optimistic message that underpins this widely traveled artist’s world view is an added incentive.

“The Passing of Light II: Book of Illumination” is at Silverlens main gallery until the 14th March at 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City, for more information go to

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another New Work

Totem 2009
3 archival injet prints
Dimensions variable
Edition of 5

The Philippine International Visual Arts Fest 2009

An integral part of the month long Philippine International Arts Festival is the Visual Arts Fest that showcases all facets of visual arts at Robinsons’ Midtown Manila & Pioneer Mandaluyong malls. From the 19th to the 22nd of this month at Midtown painting and sculpture from all over the Philippines will be exhibited whilst at Pioneer digital photography and art from the NCR will be shown.

An impressive list of artists are participating including: Aaron Bautista, Ambet Lugtu, Salvador Ching, Patrick Chong , Anton Isip, Edillardo Paras, Nunelucio Alvarado, Danilo Celum, Charlie Co, Dulz Cuna, Adeste Deguilmo, Kitty Taniguchi, Dennis Ascalon, Gary Carabio, Wenceslao Cuevas Jr., Joe Geraldo, Paulina Constancia-Lee, Nomar Miano, Ramon Porcare, Noel Sagayap, Susanito Samate, Armando Toleza, Javy Villacin Jr., Al Nezzar Ali, Errol Balcos, Rogelito Cayas Jr., Edwin Jumalon, Jun Porlares, Kelly Ramos-Palaganas, Blugto Necosia Jr., Ambie AbaƱo, Pandy Aviado, Joe Datuin, Raul Isidro, Ramon Orlina, Buds Convocar, Arnel Borja, Jesus Genotiva, Jay Alonzo,
Henry Bateman, Beth Parrocha-Doctolero, Dopy Doplon, Tommy Hafalla, Luis Martin Harder, Rick Hernandez, Nap Jamir, Amiel Lapuebla, Miguel Nacianceno, JP Sarmenta, George Tapan, Lilen Uy, Romy Vitug, Egai Talusan Fernandez, Palmy Pe-Tudtud, Bada Torralba, Manny Montelibano, Danny Pangan, Don Gurrea, Nemiranda, Nonoy Francisco, Rosscapili, Yuan Mor' Ocampo, Valente Villanueva and Sio Montera.

As you can see I’m in some good company and my triptych “At an Exhibition no 2” will be hung at Robinsons Pioneer, Mandaluyong.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A New Work

Continuing my exploration of the signs that direct, influence, advise.

Monday, February 09, 2009

They Can Dance

I had the good fortune over the weekend to catch “Turning… Turning 40”; a showcase of Filipino dance. It was also my first time to see a CCP (Cultural Centre of the Philippines) main stage production with all the bells and whistles. The 4 main dance Companies resident in Manila, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Philippine Ballet Theatre, Ballet Philippines and Ballet Manila, all strutted their stuff.

The ballet recital format is a tough ask for any company to show their goods, but Ballet Philippines managed to come through with all colours flying; they stood head and shoulders above the rest. Their first offering, “The Hurt We Embrace”, was a par de deux, choreographed by the company’s Artistic Director, Max Luna III. A stylized investigation of the boy/girl interaction which had some exquisite moments like the girl’s fluttering hand and the boy’s rigid chair extension which underscored the repressed sensuality prevalent in the work as in life here in these Islands.

Ballet Philippines’ second offering was “Night Creature”, originally choreographed by the master of defining space balletically, American Dance Theatre’s Alvin Ailey. Danced to the music of Duke Ellington and restaged by Elizabeth Roxes-Dobrish this was dance at its very best. First conceived for African American dances the Filipino dances of Ballet Philippines made it their own. The notes were hit, the extensions true, the corps de ballet danced as one. And Katsch SJ Catoy’s realization of Chenault Spence’s original lighting design provided the punctuation. It was a joyous, riveting, invigorating piece of theatre, modern dance just doesn’t get much better than this.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Picasso's Genius

Brick Factory at Tortosa

Jonathan Jones the Cuardian’s art critic has written an interesting review of Picasso that touches the tip of his genius as a prologue as The (English) National Gallery prepares for its first Pablo Picasso exhibition. If you are a fan, like me, you can read it here.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Some Comfort in the Train Wreck

If is to be believed the centre of the arts universe is imploding. In New York galleries are closing, exhibitions are being extended to reduce overheads and $100K discounts are not being laughed out the door. The doom and gloom of the financial crisis is hitting the top end of town hard.

Meanwhile in the City of Churches, the “I spent a week there one afternoon” (but that was back in the 70’s and things may have changed) town of Adelaide’s Paul Greenaway is beating the emerging artist market drum. Director of the self named Greenaway’s Gallery and founder of South Australia's Living Artists Festival (mmmm OK) says and I quote "In the past where you might have thought of buying a painting for up to $5,000 you might look more towards the emerging artists and sort of go around the $2,000 mark. ... I think ultimately this is going to be a positive thing for the art world."

And Marcus Westbury from “Not Quite Art” chimes in “The downsides are dire and self evident - dwindling arts budgets pale beside the damaged wrought in lives destroyed and certanties upended. Yet recessions can be great times for low budget cultural initiatives. Space - the almost impossible to find holy grail of artists in the boom times - becomes relatively cheap and available. Higher levels of unemployment means that talent has more time to experiment and innovate and less temptation (or opportunity) to chase big bucks elsewhere. Large scale cultural production - with it’s expensive overheads and high costs - becomes relatively more difficult. Small scale production - which works best when there is a very high ratio of initiative and labour to expenses and overheads - benefits immensely from the rapidly falling costs.”

Who can tell in these “interesting times” maybe the Aussie pundits are on to something that the Gucci suits are missing.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Irony of it All

The land of my birth, Australia, suffers from a dysfunctional identity crisis. It is too big to be and island and too small to be a continent. Just don’t fit conveniently into a pre-determined box. Bugger!

And here I am on the horns of a similar dilemma

I have been invited to exhibit my work at the Florence Biennale. Under usual circumstances the poverty stricken artists trots off to their government funded art’s support agency, cap in hand. Fills in the 27 page application (black ink or typed only), submits it in triplicate and with a bit of luck gets to wave their country’s flag on the government payroll.

As an expat with 4 years up my sleeve, I am not long enough in my adopted country to qualify as a citizen, too long away from my home country to be considered a resident. Bugger!

I guess private sponsorship is my only option, ‘cos I am still a poverty stricken artist, tally ho.

Monday, February 02, 2009

What’s Arts Criticism

The has an interesting interview with the New York Times’ film critic A.O. Scott, if you’re into talking about the Arts. Although a film critic a lot of what he says about writing and consuming critical reviews play out across all genres.

“I learned that often the most valuable reviews are those we don't agree with. Ones that prompt us to ask How does this connect with what I think? The best criticism always enriches the experience of seeing or reading a work. A critic just offers a more formal or systematic version of what you and your friends do after you've seen a movie.”

If you want to read all that he has to say go here.