Where Are We? By Gabi Nazareno March 10 – 31, 2020
By Leo Abaya
When we are unable to find our way or know our whereabouts, we say we are lost. Being lost is a locational disconnect with place. But as an infirm mental condition, it is a disconnect from the memory of place – the relationship of people and spaces. The breakdown of one’s relationship with place is akin to the erasure of its significance to the self. And so, we don’t really forget places for as long as cognition is intact; we only forget their significance.
Such is descriptive of persons afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. The artist uses this as the framework of a participative exhibit of large-scale drawings whereby viewers are immersed in the imagined perspective of the afflicted, and take part in the completion of the pieces by erasing sections of the works that their personal times allow them to spare.
Erasure, which is essentially subtractive, points to (carved) sculpture. But adapted to the pictorial idiom, it can be considered as both an ancient and modern practice. Early petroglyphs on cave walls were made by scratching the wall surface, as is
one of the early examples of graffiti, which mocked a Roman convert for his belief in the crucified Christ. Sixty-seven years ago, Rauschenberg, in expanding his concept of blank paintings, literally erased an old drawing of the more senior De Kooning, declaring that the resulting visual was not as important as the process employed in the work. Thereafter, other examples of erasures as process dispersed in other practices.
The artist appropriates the additive-subtractive process and re-contextualizes it in order to predicate her intent: to put us in the shoes of the person afflicted with memory loss disorder, in as much as all of us experience memory loss normatively, in varying intensities at various points in time, by choice or by circumstance – in our lives as individuals, as family members, as professionals, as citizens, and by extension, as players in the unfolding history of a forgetful nation
Stitches By Annatha Lilo Gutierrez March 09 – 31, 2020
By Rodolfo R. Perez Jr.
Manila | 6 February 2020
Annatha Lilo Stitches: Retrospective Exhibition of Fabric Paintings, 2005-2020
German-Filipina fabric artist Annatha Lilo Gutierrez stitches together cosmic stories of the divine feminine.
Art critic Cid Reyes writes: “Life as a cycle in the perpetual turning of the seasons, life as an existential process of creation, preservation and destruction, life as a circus from which, unlike the spectacles of magic and fantasy in the Big Tent in a carnival, there is no escaping: all these are conveyed by the silk paintings of Annatha Lilo Gutierrez, which, with their fairy tale-like unfolding, hinting at Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu mythology and faith, allows us to catch a glimpse of life’s imponderables.”
Serena (2005) and Mutya ng Pasig (2005) are early works using silk dyes and mixed media.
“My installation (composed of) fishnet for past source of livelihood, taffeta and ribbons for aesthetics, plastic as symbol of destruction of the environment- is a collage of (the) Pasig (river) past and present.”, says Annatha of her “Pasig River Installation” (2005).
Sparked by her discovery in the streets around the Quiapo Church that dahong Maria is wormwood, known in Europe since medieval times for its medicinal properties by healers such as the visionary St. Hildegarde von Bingen, Annatha Lilo finds inspiration in the intersections between Filipino healing folklore, ayurvedic medicine and Western homeopathic practices.
Annatha Lilo Gutierrez is known for her mastery and application of silk dyes on Filipino fabrics such as jusi, piña and other fabrics like habotai silk, or liniwan shifu.
“Triptych- The Three Fates (2017)” is done on jusi, “Water Lotus” (2017) on piña, “Five Elements: Wood (Hildegard) (2017)” is on habotai silk while both “Water Element (Kuan Yin) (2017)” and “Fire Element (2017)” uses liniwan shifu, combining paper and fiber, handmade by Kapangan, Benguet-based master papermaker Asao Shimura.
Her wearable art reinvents the tapis, marrying her fabric paintings on jusi or piña fabric with indigenous fabrics sourced from the north (i.e. Mountain Province or Abra). Matched with estampitas worn as an anting-anting to ward off negative energy, her wearable art is sustainable if not magical.
Annatha Lilo says about the process: “It is a labor intensive and a manual process involving crochet, quilting and beading. I use crochet for the borders and for the sash in my tapis skirts. I use crochet because this is sturdier than say machine-made lace and for aesthetic reasons. Another labor of love is the beading where beads and semi-precious stones are hand-sewn on my artworks. Finally, quilting is involved to set the artwork evenly and firmly on the fabric.”
Her new works in acrylic expand the wider meaning of stitching from mending (something) to healing (something or someone)? -albeit not only with stitches but with brush strokes.
A protégé of Rod Paras Perez, Annatha Lilo studied Interior Design at the University of Santo Tomas (UST). A successful entrepreneur-exporter of baby linen, she re-entered the art world by joining various group and one-woman shows, andcurating stints in art galleries.
Balik Bayan: The Art of Finding Home From the collection of: Yolanda and Rogelio Buan Featuring: Cesar Buenaventura, Crispin Lopez, JD Castro, Badong Cabrera, Paco Gorospe, and Edgar Doctor February 10 – 29, 2020
Exhibition Note By Delan Lopez Robillos
Balik Bayan: The Art of Finding Home is an exhibition of artworks from the Mabini Art genre collection of Yolanda Buan and her late husband, Rogelio.
Mabini, despite bearing the stigma of the commercial art genre, was once the haven of Philippine art luminaries such as Isidro Ancheta, Gabriel Custodio, Diosdado Lorenzo, Miguel Galvez, and Simon Saulog to name a few.
Among its celebrated artists are Serafin Serna, Crispin Lopez, Cesar Buenaventura, Edgar Doctor, Sofronio Ylanan Mendoza (or SYM), JD Castro, and Salvador “Badong” Cabrera. And here’s a bit of trivia¬: The late Salvador Cabrera is the older brother of National Artist for Visual Arts BenCab. He was instrumental in paving the way for his younger brother’s entry into the Philippine art scene.
The art industry in Ermita began in the late 1940s and early ‘50s. It was considered the art hub of Manila as rows of commercial art galleries during the ‘60s flourished along the streets of Mabini, Del Pilar, Orosa, and United Nations Avenue.
The Buans established Yolanda’s Art Gallery along Mabini Street in 1969 and after a fruitful run of almost ten years, the gallery closed shop in 1978 when the family migrated to the United States, bringing with them a fairly substantial art collection. Some pieces were eventually given to each of the four children abroad.
In 2013, the Cultural Center of the Philippines mounted the exhibition titled “The Mabini Art Movement,” an exhibition on a Philippine art genre which emerged after World War II. The exhibit was curated by art historian Dr. Pearl E. Tan and in her extensive critique of the exhibition, Dr. Tan mentioned that the CCP undertaking freed “…Mabini Art from the dustbin of Philippine art history.”
Former CCP President Raul M. Sunico also wrote: “…research on the history of Philippine visual arts has been plentiful in the last two decades during which art historians and critics have collaborated with museums and visual artists in updating, redefining and assessing the paths visual art practice has taken, attention on the popular art identified with Mabini Street in the district of Ermita, Manila has been dismal.”
It is disheartening to note that to this day, some of us continue to turn a blind eye to Mabini Art’s role in and contribution to post-colonial Philippine art.
Laro Tayo By Oliver Olivete January 13 – 31, 2020
Oliver Olivete’s “Laro Tayo” pays homage to childhood and all that has been left behind.
A mixed media exhibition of tile, wood and found objects arranged to take you back in time for a nostalgic journey.
Close to 50 pieces of forgotten games and tradition have been lovingly put together by Olivete to compel one to remember the days when life revolved around an afternoon of play until technology took over the generations.
Olivete was pushed to recreate childhood games as a result of a sense of loss for the demise of the tradition of playing by the digital native’s use of gadgets and technology.
Games ingrained in the psyche of the Filipino like the sungka, climbing the palo sebo, navigating the maze of the piko, making paper airplanes, collecting spiders, assembling robots with activities like crocheting and the innocent joy of “jack en poy.”
The show will take you through collected pieces of odds and ends, discarded toys and gadgets complete the fantasy world the artist has created dulled by present day nuances in a fight against the death of a childish tradition of play.
“Laro Tayo” is a journey to the childhood adulting has taken away, allowing us the grace to return to innocence.
Olivete is a Baguio boy who fell in love with drawing as a child and developed a passion for arts as he grew up. He is best known for mosaic art.
“Laro Tayo” is Olivete’s first one-man exhibition and he invites us to remember.