Re Orient — Mark Jentes’ auspicious nature-inspired art

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEY SANCHEZ MENDOZA FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE MARKUS’ new works are more lighthearted and fluid in subject matter.

Known today as an abstract-expressionist, visual artist Markus Peter Jentes, Mark to his family and friends, recently opened his 2023 exhibit at the 1335 Mabini Gallery.

Mark and I have known each other through the years, and each time he exhibits his works, there’s always something new and different in his approach to his artIn his current exhibit, he uses a combination of acrylics, spray paints and other mediums. His initial collection, consisting of hard-edged geometric paintings, has been replaced by nature-inspired art works.

More recently, Markus’ approach towards art has grown to be more abstract-expressionist in nature. He further departs from his comfort zone dominated by vibrant lines and shapes to explore new styles, techniques and personal expression.

His exhibit, intended or not, is timely as we celebrate the coming of the Chinese New Year of the Water Rabbit. As tradition would dictate, it is during this start of the lunar year when enthusiastic practitioners and believers of geomancy, generally defined as the art of placing or arranging buildings or other sites auspiciously around it, engage in feng shui rituals and rearrange their homes to bring in good luck in the next 12 months.

Mark’s artworks, blending minimalism with bold, sharp geometric colors and shapes, reflect the harmony in the natural elements that ensure a happy and abundant life, or as feng shui believers would put it.

The Daily Tribune interviewed Mark on how his deep personal shift has led to his artistic shift which, in turn, manifests in his more relaxed approach in his process and creative flow. At the same time, we sought his views on how his art may welcome the Year of the Rabbit to bring in good fortune.

MARKUS Jentes with daughter Tatiana and wife Memona.

Daily Tribune (DT): Exhibiting at the start of 2023 must foretell a successful year. What makes you optimistic about the next 12 months?
Peter Markus Jentes (PMJ): I feel quite optimistic about 2023 in terms of where my art career and life are heading. It all started in 2022, when my art and personal life shifted in direction for the better.
I realized that it was high time to allow for things to flow more freely, and simply avoid anything (or anyone) that was not a part of making life better or more harmonious. The birth of my daughter last March 2022 singlehandedly cemented this paradigm for me to live by. This change of heart and mindset are the reasons I believe (moving forward), will create a more optimistic 2023 for me.

DT: Changes are almost always refreshing. How does Re Orient reflect the new in you?
PMJ: The Re Orient series of work is truly the best visual example and reflection of my life’s personal shift. The work is much more light-hearted and is very fluid in subject matter. The colors and shapes have a nice, soft harmonious blend to them, giving off a softer feel to the eye. My daughter, too, is a joyful inspiration to whatever I do in art.

DT: The title of the exhibit is a play on a geographical-cultural location which is the Orient and also on your approach to your art which may denote a change, this one from within. How do both manifest in this collection?
PMJ: This is where it gets interesting. Having allowed myself to let go and be more fluid in my approach to life and art, I looked into traditional Chinese and Japanese landscape paintings to learn about their brush techniques. I found it fascinating as they often used a single brush with ink and water to create such simple yet beautiful landscape paintings. It was realizing and understanding that these paintings could never be completed with ink alone, which opened my eyes. It was the careful balance of ink and water which is where the magic happens when applied by the brush. The brush, too, is just as important. While it can create wide, subtle and soft areas, it can do the opposite and paint hard, bold and solid dark fine lines by simply adjusting how it is applied. I then began to experiment on my own, using a single old brush, to create my interpretation of this ancient technique into modern abstract art forms, without losing the essence of the traditional technique and result. This was the first sign of my orientation into an old technique, and a re-orienting of the traditional into modern forms.

On a more personal level, this is the re-orienting of myself, of which this series of artworks also began.

(To be continued on 24 January)

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