Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Is it Art?

The best definition I have come across for art comes the Hungarian/Australian painter Desiderius Orban which goes along the lines of “If when viewing a work of art for the first time you don’t change your mind about something, either you are a very stubborn person or it isn’t a very good work of art.”

This definition applies to photography just as well and I have just discovered Colin Pantall's blog and his current series “How Not to Photograph” which hammers the point home.

Don’t go there unless you want to know why your pics suck.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pixel Perfect – The Exhibition (Fact File)

Gallery: Sining Kamalig
Address: 4th Level, Gateway Mall, Araneta Centre,
Cubao, Quezon City
Duration: 21 April to 12 May (Open 11am to 9pm Daily)
Opening Reception: 6pm to 9pm Tuesday 21 April
Artist: Henry Bateman
Email: bateman(dot)henry(at)gmail(dot)com
Gallerist: Simoun Balboa
Email: siningkamalig(at)gmail(dot)com

The Book

Pixel Perfect
A print on demand publication printed in the USA.
Signed copies can be ordered through the gallery.
Softback Php3500.00, Hardback Php4500.00

The Art Works

Seasons Greetings
3 archival inkjet on canvas panels 60.5” x 48”
Edition of 1 plus 2 AP
Digital files created between December 2005
and December 2006
Printed February 2009

Remembering Batangas
3 archival inkjet on canvas panels 60.5” x 48”
Edition of 1 plus 1 AP
Digital files created between September 2006
and June 2007
Printed February 2009

9 archival inkjet on canvas panels 60.5” x 144.5”
Edition of 1 plus 1 AP
Digital files created between April 2006 and April 2007
Printed February 2009

Broken Spaces
12 archival inkjet on canvas panels 80.75” x 144.5”
Edition of 1 plus 1 AP
Digital files created between December 2007
and July 2008
Printed February 2009

At an Exhibition
3 archival inkjet on canvas panels 60.5” x 48”
Edition of 1 plus 1 AP
Digital files created between January
and June 2008
Printed February 2009

2 416 329X
3 archival inkjet on canvas panels 60.5” x 48”
Edition of 1 plus 1 AP
Digital files created in July 2008
Printed February 2009

The Sign Says 1
9 archival inkjet on canvas panels 60.5” x 144.5”
Edition of 1 plus 1 AP
Digital files created between August and November 2008
Printed February 2009

The Sign Says 2
3 archival inkjet on canvas panels 60.5” x 48”
Edition of 1 plus 1 AP
Digital files created in November 2008
Printed February 2009

How to get there

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Getting Connected

First published in The Expat Travel & Lifestyle Magazine March 2009

What do an Irishman, a Scotsman, an Englishman, a Swede, an Indian, an Australian, a Norwegian, an American, a Chinaman, a Filipino, a German, a Spaniard and an Austrian all have in common?

Apart from seeming like a chapter of the United Nations, they are some of the nationalities of a group of people who meet each month at one of Manila’s many watering holes to swap tales of their Philippine adventures. They are also members of www.internations.org, the international online community for people who live and work abroad.

Canadian John Mihalo and Irishman Tom Kershaw share a drink at the bar of Murphy's Irish pub during the January InterNations get together.

InterNations is the brain child of three Germans, Christian Leifeld, Philipp von Plato and Malte Zeeck. Between them, in the preceding thirteen years, they had lived and studied and/or worked in fifteen countries that ranged from India in the east to the Americas in the west. The impetus to start InterNations was their shared discovery, common amongst expatriates, of the often difficult process of finding like minded people who could show them the ropes in their new country. So in September of 2007, utilizing their skills in international management and media, they founded InterNations, an organization dedicated to making life easier for people living abroad.

In the eighteen months from its inception, InterNations has grown to 100,000 members from 230 local communities across the globe. Members range from diplomats, members of IGOs and NGOs, foreign correspondents, expatriates employed by multinational companies, their family members and the diverse range of individuals living abroad along with locals with ties to the expatriate community.

Via the internet, InterNations provides a network that enables its members to interact with other people in a similar situation. From New York to New Delhi, from Amsterdam to Addis Ababa, it allows members with comparable interests to share insights and ideas through the site’s forums; to exchange reliable information on expat-specific topics; and to keep in touch with friends and business contacts. From across the world or around the corner, these globally minded people pool their knowledge and their experiences.

With topics that range from the meaty like, “How to bring peace to the middle east?” or “Who will be the next superpower?” to the frivolous such as “what frequently tickles your feet” or “ROSITA'S CANTINA - with the cook, the thief, his wife and her lover - SORRY WE'RE OPEN” and its 21979 replies, the forums are at the heart of the web site. With six broad categories, that includes an Expat Q&A, there is a plethora of information as well as opinion just waiting discovery. And if the forum can’t help, the members’ directory with its display of country affiliations means an answer is just an email away, pretty much wherever in the world your concern lies.

More than a Web Site

But this ever expanding network is more than a web site, members are encouraged to get out from behind their computers and interact in the real world. Each of the 203 local communities has an ambassador. A dedicated individual who organizes activities within his or her local community that brings the membership out of the house, out of the work place.

From bowling in Budapest to pub nights in Paris, the InterNations’ ambassadors organize get-togethers for their multi cultural throng. With, of course, the recent festive season being an excuse for serious party going from Melbourne to Moscow, from Miami to Manila.

Here in the Philippines the pre Christmas get-together was organized by the local InterNations’ ambassador, Pat Hawkins. An Australian and a serial expatriate, he has lived and worked in 48 cities in 39 countries mostly in the Middle East and Asia. Hawkins, although currently employed in real estate here in Manila, utilizes his past experience as a team leader in information technology start ups to organize the local events. He has grown the Manila get-togethers from an initial seven people from four countries to 25 people from 20 countries in just a handful of months. Based around the principle of eat, drink and be merry, these gatherings foster a bonhomie conducive to making friends and business contacts.

The Dane and the Filipina

The Dane and The Filipina take a break whilst Malling

Lone Nielsen is a marketing post graduate from Denmark, who came to Manila upon the completion of her degree to work as an intern with the Filtra group of companies. After her one year stint with Filtra, she will return to Denmark to pursue a Masters degree in her chosen field of Marketing and Management Communications. This year off from study has given her the chance to gain some valuable work experience whilst indulging her passion for foreign travel. Joining InterNations seemed like the obvious thing to do when she arrived in the Philippines.

Monelli Ponce de Leon is a Filipina in her mid twenties. An avid reader and part time computer geek, she is also multi-lingual, speaking English, Tagalog, Spanish, Japanese and French. For this language instructor joining InterNations was a “no brainer”, not only for the networking associated with her employment but for the opportunity to practice and maintain her language skills.

They met at the InterNations gathering held at Murphy’s Irish Pub in down town Makati a couple of months ago. They have since got together several times outside of the InterNations meetings to swap notes on their cultural differences while Ponce de Leon introduces Nielsen to the intricacies of the Philippines unofficial sport, malling. No doubt the true test of this budding friendship will come when the Filipina introduces the Dane to her favorite local delicacy, balut.

Beam me up Scotty

Currently, basic membership of InterNations is free but only through invitation, which can be obtained from the front page of www.internations.org. Answer the half a dozen questions and you could find yourself on the invitation list for the next get-together, which in Manila tend to be held on the third Wednesday of the month.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Street Art

Road closures are part of the deal as this year's crop of Easter Shrines start to take shape over the Poblacion barangay. These folk art installations must be ready by Wednesday 8th of April, just 3 weeks away, to celebrate Christ Pasyon. It is also the second day of The Great Filipino Easter Photo Tour, click here for more info.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Remembering Heath Robinson (2009)
3 archival inkjet on canvas panels 48" x 60"

The Circus is Back in Town

Artist Cesar Caballero with a bevy of beauties at
the opening of his latest exhibition

Pinocchio has given way to the three ring spectacular. Views of both the arena and the bleachers are on view and explore the nature of the beast. The internet’s “WTF” transposes to the canvas with a cartoon aesthetic that links the transition. Anime with a Spanish twist, perhaps?

It is the blurring of the perspective, from performer to perceiver that intrigues in Cesar Caballero’s latest offering "Silence and Whispers" at Artina Gallery Café. The linking device of the 3 dots in a speech balloon cements the sense of wonder of both and raises the eternal question even if the roles are stereotypical.

“Silence & Whispers” is on show at Artina Gallery Café, A Venue, Makati Ave until 13 April.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spreading the Word

First published in The Expat travel & Lifestyle Magazine March 2009
In May last year, when the hammer fell on Emmanual Santos’ angel series of photographs “Passing of Light” at Christie’s Hong Kong auction, a record price for Philippine and Asian contemporary photograph was set.

Hill of 1,000,000 Crosses by Emmanuel Santos, part of the series that created the Philippine & Asian record at Christy's Hong Kong Auction © Emmanual Santos

The woman who instigated this historic moment was Isa Lorenzo, the Artistic Director of the Silverlens Photography Gallery. For this doctor cum photographer cum gallerist, whilst acknowledging the importance of the economic capital of photography, the development of the cultural capital of the medium is her driving force.

Silverlens' Artistic Director, Isa Lorenzo
photograph by Rachel Rillo

After completing her medical degree, Lorenzo realised her passion was elsewhere and headed off to the US to study photography at the Parsons School of Design in New York. There she gained her masters in Photography and Media Studies. Whilst in the Big Apple she also exhibited her work at the International Center for Photography and the Thomas Wenrer Gallery. To say, Lorenzo was under whelmed by Manila’s scatter gun approach to exhibiting art in general and photography in particular that she found upon her return to the Philippines would be an understatement.

“Making the work is half the journey, and the easy part in comparison, to finding a gallerist who really believes in an artists’ work, much less photography”, she says. “The lack of support for photography as collected art plus being forced to work in a vacuum takes its toll on the creative process,” Lorenzo adds. Consequently, taking the recognized international gallery practice of nurturing a stable of artists through their careers as her model, she created Silverlens Gallery in September of 2005 specializing in fine art photography.

Through the careful planning of their exhibition schedule of international and local photographers, the gallery has grown to be one of the most highly respected players in the Philippine art scene. And in October of 2008 Silverlens expanded their local operation opening on two new galleries, the SLab Gallery and the 20Square Gallery. Adjacent to and interconnected with the original Silverlens gallery, these spaces exhibit a wider range of contemporary art including painting, sculpture and prints. With the same curatorial team as the main gallery, these new additions are fast becoming, likewise, respect venues in the local art scene.

International Expansion

As a logical extension of these local successes, the Silverlens’ curatorial team, with Lorenzo at its head, has been making inroads into the international art scene. And it is here that Lorenzo’s focus on developing the gallery’s cultural capital, rather than the economic, has started to pay dividends.

Firstly by targeting top draw art fairs in the Asian region like HK08 in Hong Kong and Art Singapore. And then placing gallery artists in some of the regions biennales such as Korea’s Busan Biennale and the Singapore Biennale, Silverlens is promoting the world class nature of their program. It is these events that attract the glitterati of the international arts world, the serious, well heeled collectors and more importantly the top flight museum curators.

Whilst sales are an economic imperative and a record setting auction price will generate headlines, the works go into private hands for the enjoyment of the few and the headlines will be wrapping tomorrow’s fish and chips. Whereas placing a work in a museum’s and /or institutional gallery’s permanent collection ensures the work will be displayed for generations to come. And with museum and gallery attendances trumping sporting events world wide, year after year, means the placed work will be seen by very many pairs of eyes. It is also an indication of a work’s cultural significance, as these public collections are the historic record of the world’s cultural capital.


In March each year galleries from around the world descend upon New York City. For the city that bills itself as the art capital of the world, from the 5th to 8th of the ‘Ides’ month, the boast becomes a fact. Seven art fairs opened their doors over these four days and an expected quarter of a million visitors flowed through them. From Zurich to Amsterdam, from Montreal to Manila, the crème de la crème of the art world wormed their way though the Big Apple.

And Silverlens was there. Lorenzo and her team dove into this particular pressure cooker of long days at their art fair booth and nights spent networking with colleagues. “It is hard work, and you never really know who is walking in to see the show. It’s a thrill and a half”, Lorenzo muses.

For Lorenzo, getting Silverlens into the Pulse Contemporary Art Fair is a feather in her cap. Their 2008 application was rejected by the highly selective Pulse curatorial committee. Silverlens was advised they were showing too many artists, the Pulse selection committee expects participating galleries to be as selective as them. Over the successive nine months the Pulse curators kept an eye on Silverlens’ other fair appearances and the gallery program and for the 2009 fair gave them the nod.

After The Fawn by Bea Valdes

When Lorenzo and her team flew out to New York, they had six artist’s works in their bags. Steve Tirona, Gary Ross Pastrana, Bea Valdes, Isa Lorenzo, Mariano Ching and Patricia Eustaquio all strutted their stuff at the Pulse Contemporary Art Fair under the Silverlens banner, rubbing shoulders with some of the art world’s heavy hitters. And for Steve Tirona, Pulse was his New York debut.

Nos. 61-97 by Gary-Ross Pastrana

A Silverlens exhibition is fast becoming a high point in a photographer’s career, adding a culturally significant entry to their resume. To be accepted for representation will see the photographer thrust into the international spot light as the Silverlens’ star continues to glow, with increasing brightness, in the international art firmament.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Side Bar Update

You may have noticed that I have added a handful of links to art related sites to the side bar of the same name, then again you may not.

Top of the list is “A Night Filled with Shooting Stars”, regular posts that discuss art in an intelligent way. Yes it is New York centric, but it does have a somewhat broader approach than many others (sic Hrat Vartanian, also a new addition, but seems to think the world stops outside the city limits). The Shooting Stars post, On the fingers of one hand: Pool’s Thierry Alet reminds us that “there is no recession for independent artists”, hits the nail on the head.

I have been reading Ed Winkleman’s blog for some time now which gives a take on the art scene, again New York centric, from a gallerist’s POV. With a large and vocal following his, at times, agent provocateur approach does get the comments section humming. In fact, often it is the comments that shed the greatest illumination.

Snippets from the Manila Arts Scene” is a relatively new blog that looks at the local, well for me, state of artistic endeavor. A bit on the touchy feely side it is still a welcome change from the mostly PR related posts elsewhere.

On the photography side of things there is Ch’ng Yaohong’s discovery, discussion and exploration of Asian photography at the Asian Photography Blog. He trolls the internet looking for photography, mostly of a conservative nature, to bring to his readers attention.

And then there is Jorg Colbergs “Conscientious”. I keep going back even though I think he is wrong more often than not and his boredom threshold is a lot higher than mine. It’s a bit like the fascination of a train wreck but that said he does hit it from time to time.

So when you have had you fill here try some of the above just to vary the diet.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Free Piss, Perhaps

Irish budget airline Ryanair is considering charging their passengers one pound (US$2.20, 105 pesos) to take a slash. Obviously to make the most of this proposal the Guinness/beer will be free. I mean it would be a bit much to charge for it both going in and out. And as everyone knows the offer of free piss always draws a crowd.

Now, have you heard the one about........