A woman’s touch

Textures and Terrains

For the first time since it opened its doors to the public, Gallery C displays an all-women artists’ group exhibition, titled “Textures and Terrains,” on exhibit until September.

Part of Conrad Manila’s month-long second anniversary celebration, the exhibit features works by women artists Olivia d’Aboville, Pardo de Leon and Mac Valdezco.

“[The exhibit] tells a lot about Conrad Manila’s message of unity with women who embody the attributes of creativity, courage and strength of character,” shared Conrad Manila general manager Laurent Boisdron.

After studying the Conrad art collection, curator Rica and Con Cabrera wanted to focus on the women artists.

The pretext of the exhibit, Cabrera explained, is summed up in a question: “How do female artists work with materials that look masculine?”

They selected three that represent different generations of art practices happening today.

The three artists were chosen among the artists commissioned by the hotel to complete its art collection, now composed of over 600 contemporary paintings, sculpture, installations and decorative arts.

They also represent different materials they are working on. Each practice has a distinct style.
Graduated from Duperre, a prestigious textile design school in Paris, Olivia d’Aboville is equipped with specialized knowledge on tapestry and textile techniques.

Her works on exhibit, which belong to the Moonlit Water series, capture the ocean at peace. The artworks, featuring pleated, hand-woven polyester abaca textiles, showcase the artist’s intense fascination with the ocean, which she developed through the time she spent diving in the waters of Puerto Galera. She recreates its light, fluidity and movement using various materials.

Pardo de Leon, meanwhile, has been known for her abstractions. A Thirteen Artists Awards in 1988, the Baguio-based artist fuses spirituality and nostalgia in her works. Displayed at the Gallery C is her Triptych: Room of the Three Suns, depicting the passing of time as signaled by the Sun at Dusk, The Noonday Sun and The Sun at Dawn.

The artworks have unassuming yet commanding colors, balanced by the lines drawn in heliocentric trajectories and embellished by mystical orbs and gemstones.

A Thirteen Artists Awards recipient in 2006, Mac Valdezco has an affinity that can transform. She uses found objects to mimic elements of nature.

Using plastic tubing, nylon, epoxy and acrylic, her artworks on display show her fascination with sculptural forms and materials from industrial surplus and factory-produced objects.

Some of the pieces on exhibit were part of the Beautiful Bones series, which was inspired by her childhood memories of visiting and playing around the bone collection of the National Museum where her mother worked.

Her sculpture Black embodies her ethos of transforming things, dictated by the medium she uses or by the organic gestures of her artistic hands.

Aside from their commonality as women artists, they create based on their experiences with nature and their studio practice.

The artworks are quite tactile, seemingly inviting the viewers to feel their textures. They are not flat, but have two-dimensional features.

“When we saw their artworks, we could feel the textures, and see landscapes, no matter how abstract they seemed,” said Cabrera, who curated the exhibit based on the conversations among the artworks.

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