Monsters invade Pablo Gallery in new group show
MANILA, Philippines – Shape of Shadows, Pablo Gallery’s newest group exhibit, is an investigation into the nature of monsters, both within and around us. The works in the exhibit present a diverse take on monsters, from literal beasts to the internalized monstrosities of society’s collective anxiety.
For most of us, monsters need to be suppressed, hidden. But monsters thrive in the dark. The more you try to suppress them, the more powerful they become. This is the paradox that the artists in Shape of Shadows explore. The task of an artist is to train a spotlight on these monsters, to inspire intrigue and curiosity, instead of fear and revulsion. The works in Shape of Shadows celebrate and ridicule monsters. And that is how art makes us braver.
Each of the artists in the show have their own interpretations of monsters. In Auggie Fontanilla’s mixed-media painting and assemblage "Tiki Tiki," that monster is a chimera adorned with the trappings of Filipino street art and Catholicism. Also referencing street culture are the monsters that inhabit Gerone Perez’s, "I AM A! 01" and "I AM A!02." His digital portraits of alien-like beings are adorned with a mishmash of cultural references, from kaijus to anime.
Not all of the monsters presented are external – in fact, the most compelling pieces are the ones that explore identity and inner tension. For Epjay Pacheco’s mixed-media works "What Lies Beneath and Self Portrait," the artist focuses his gaze on himself. Both pieces feature maddening amounts of detail, as if to show the different strands of thought and questioning that lurk in the artist’s mind. Continuing the themes of self-inquiry are Zeus Bascon’s "Dead Masks Series" and Denver Garza’s "Sensory Observer," both created with found objects.
Tin F Garcia’s "Feast on the Yeast" and "No Hope for The Flowers" instill a sense of queasiness by combining food and insect imagery. "On No Hope for The Flowers," a spread of lunch meats is painted on a caterpillar-shaped canvas. Sculpted fingers crawl out of the edges of canvases, triggering feelings of revulsion and attraction.
Not all of the works in the exhibit are wall-bound — a number of artists have chosen to recreate their monsters through sculpture, installation, and even video art.
For Marcus Nada, the experience of encountering monsters is an aural one. His interactive installation "Tabi Po" produces an eerie drone when cranked by the viewer. The sound is reminiscent of the engine noise created by Japanese Zero fighters during World War 2.
Mitch Mauricio’s mixed-media work "Untitled" is a construct made using mirror shards. There is nothing monstrous in the physical presence of the work (unless you count the potential for getting your fingers sliced). But when viewers stand in front of the piece, their gaze is reflected back through dozens of broken fragments. The monster isn’t in the work, it’s in the viewer, and the multitude of faces and identities they cling to.
The sculptures of Bjorn Calleja, Raphael David, Jo Gregorio, and Neil Arvin Javier offer more literal representations of monsters, but are riveting nonetheless. Some of the more noteworthy pieces are David’s and Javier’s stoneware and mixed-media works, which look like misshapen alien flora.
David’s sculpture "The Pollinator" takes the shape of an alien insect combined with one of those Zentraedi Battlepods from Macross. Like Mauricio’s mixed-media, piece, "The Pollinator" uses a reflective surface. When viewers look at the sculpture up close, their faces are reflected on The Pollinator’s face, seemingly to supply the monster its identity. Without the viewer’s face reflected on it, The Pollinator becomes an anonymous work of metal and brass and copper leaf.
Shape of Shadows was organized and curated by Dang Sering and Pauline Vicencio-Despi. It features all-new works by Zeus Bascon, Bjorn Calleja, Raphael David, Auggie Fontanilla. Tin F Garcia, Denver Garza, Jo Gregorio, Neil Arvin Javier, Mitch Mauricio, Marchishiro Nada, Epjey Pacheco, and Gerone Perez.
The exhibit is held in Pablo Gallery-The Fort, and will run until September 8. A series of talks and a zine launch will accompany the exhibit. – Rappler.com