‘Re Orient’: Mark Jentes’ auspicious nature-inspired art


Abstract-expressionist visual artist Markus Peter Jentes recently opened his 2023 exhibit at the 1335 Mabini Gallery, which is timely as we usher in the Year of the Water Rabbit. The Daily Tribune interviewed Jentes on how his deep personal shift led to his artistic shift which, in turn, manifests in his more relaxed approach in his process and creative flow. Here is the second part of the interview:
Daily Tribune (DT): Some patrons buy art to attract good fortune. Which of your artworks should they buy?

Markus Peter Jentes (MPJ): The Re Orient series takes a mixed influence from oriental traditional art, feng shui, yin and yang, auspicious lucky colors and koi fish. When you think about it, they are far more connected than most would know. For me to express what I understood about everything I mentioned into an abstract and modern re-interpretation, it meant I had to orient myself fully, only to
re orient myself yet again. This was a crucial step I needed to undergo to really bring out the intent of these influences through my artwork.

One of my favorites of the show, a long and narrow painting titled One Afternoon by the Koi Pond is a the prime example of what the Re Orient theme is about. It was inspired by the traditional 100 koi fish paintings which are considered lucky by many. I didn’t want to simply paint 100 koi fish, but rather reinterpret this through a beautiful blend of colors mimicking koi fish patterns, put all together in one long piece. To add to the notion of re-orientation, this painting can literally be hung or installed in more than one way. It can be appreciated in a tall and narrow vertical manner, or in a horizontal and wide manner. There is no right or wrong orientation as it lies with however the viewer desires it to be.

Another close second choice for me are the Oriental Circulation and Emerald Circulation pieces which use a combination of 2023’s lucky colors, wonderfully blended together in cloud and mountain-like shapes found in nature. Clouds (in traditional Chinese art) are believed to be vapor-formed from the dragon’s breath. It is also believed that the patterns on the bodies of koi fish resemble the lucky clouds made by the dragon. As you can see, everything is somehow connected, and mean something.

Most of the pieces in the show use 2023’s lucky colors, this being fuchsia pink, red, forest green and gold. Other colors are also used to help accentuate these lucky colors in the series.
While these may be some of the pieces I personally like, my art is really about what sings or matters to the viewer. He or she may find other pieces to be lucky, or may strike a visual or emotional chord.
Nature and the changing of the seasons may be better understood in terms of the elements of earth, fire, metal, and water.

(FROM left) General Consul of Finland Herbert Nyqvist, Dr. Genevieve Huang, Fi Cioti, and Mike Chan.

DT: How do you interpret this oriental perspective in the works you are currently exhibiting?
MPJ: The elements are very important in feng shui. While I am no expert, I took these into account as best I could to make sure they were not left out. The abstract koi series reflects both water and sky. Their body patterns look like colored clouds and their habitat is naturally the water. Another piece titled The Dragon’s Ridge is the only real landscape painting of the series which represents earth. This painting also has a very warm pink, red, and gold tone which can connote the element of fire as well. On the other side of the spectrum, the Emerald Circulation pieces are a mix of deep greens, jade, and metallic gold colors in a fluid cloud/mist pattern. Depending on how one looks at it, it can seem like trees in a rainforest. Again, akin to the elements of earth and metal with the symbolism of wealth. These are just some examples of what the work in this series represents and reflects on.

(FROM left) Markus Jentes, Memona Jadoon, Fi Cioti, and Mike Chan.

DT: What are your personal rituals and rules for inviting good luck and good fortune to your work day, art works, and exhibit openings?
MPJ: This all begins with self-reflection and a little prayer. I have to be thankful for what was given to me, to allow me to create something remarkable from it. Since the shift in my life is in full swing, it’s about the realization to let go of the things that are out of my control, and positively shape the things in my life which I can control. That being said, putting a wonderful exhibit together to showcase my truest expressions of art to share with family, friends and the public is reason enough to be blessed and fortunate.

Photograph BY Joey Sanchez Mendoza for the Daily Tribune
‘EMERALD Circulation no. 4’ by Markus Jentes.

DT: What do you think art patrons and buyers should invest in this 2023 and what should they avoid?
MPJ: I strongly believe that patrons should, first and foremost, invest in art that sings to them. It is important to have a connection with the artwork. One has to love it enough to look at it often, because it’s likely going to be there awhile. As to what art is to be avoided? I have no answer for that. There is a type of art for a type of art collector. It is merely a matter of taste and preference.

DT: Finally, what is your wish for the Philippine art scene in the Year of the Rabbit?
MPJ: If we are to talk of luck in 2023, I think it is something we should embrace and be thankful for. Everyone needs a little bit of it. The last three years have been very tough on the art scene in general because of the ongoing pandemic and economic woes. The Rabbit is said to be one of the luckiest Chinese zodiac animals. So, who knows, with a little more luck this year, the scene can come back better, stronger, and sooner. That would be a nice and lucky wish come true for 2023.

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