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Abstract views

On the surface, these artworks are very different from each other. Looking closer, they all have their commonality.

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How many times do you stand in front of an abstract painting and wrack your brain to figure out what it all means? Or perhaps, looking at an artwork and blurting out, “My son/daughter could do that” or “I can do that?”

Admit it, we’re all guilty of these scenarios. It’s understandable since drawing meaning from abstract arts does not come easily to the uninitiated ones.

Unlike representational arts that have an accurate depiction of a visual reality, abstract arts use a simplified form of an object using shapes, colors and gestural marks, among others.

In truth, there is no right or wrong way to interpret abstract art. Both the creator and the viewer can freely express and communicate their thoughts and interpretations without the boundary of reality.

“For me, abstract art has no baseline. It is very subjective. It is about how an artist interprets his emotions on a canvas,” shared young artist Lara Latosa, who recently co-curated a group show at the Gallery C, located in Conrad Manila.

Titled “Abstract Views,” the group exhibit features works by nine Filipino artists, namely, architect-sculptor Richard Buxani, mixed media artist Melbourne Aquino, painter Rick Lozada Hernandez, abstract artist Fitz Herrera, pointillist artist Binong Javier, ob-gyn-visual artist Meneline Wong, environment advocate and artist Lara Latosa, geometric abstractionist Aner Sebastian and self-taught painter Michael Pastorizo.

The 24 featured works showcase the artists’ multi-media mastery, creative artistic approaches and compelling thematic messages.

The brass sculptures by Buxani perfectly articulate his talent for innovation, as well as his technical prowess in manipulating metal. Throughout his art career, he has devoted himself to producing intricate metal figures infused with ambitious themes and concepts.

Aquino and Hernandez share a passion for words, “lettering abstraction” as how Aquino puts it.

Aquino’s inventive artistic style layers cut-out fragments of letters on a canvas, evoking a look similar to a scrambled ransom note. This style landed him a nomination in the CCP Thirteen Artists Award in 2012 and a spot representing the Philippines in the Florence Biennale in 2017.

Drawing from his experience as graphic artist, Hernandez learned from some of the masters and himself garnered several major art awards such as a finalist in the 2001 and 2003 Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards and second place at the Non-Representational Category of the 2012 GSIS Annual Painting Competition
Textural abstraction best describes works by Herrera and Javier.

Herrera’s works on exhibit are characterized by a multi-textured patchwork of bold, bright colors and lines. He finds inspiration from the memories and emotional experiences in the physical world, which he interprets on canvas through a distorted abstraction of colors and textures.

As an artist, Herrera is committed to freedom of expression, which he has found nowhere else other than in abstraction.

Javier champions pointilism, an abstraction technique involving meticulously dripping tiny flecks of acrylic all over the canvas to produce a magnificent gradient of colors. The result is an artwork that implores viewers to take a double look –– first from up close, then from a distance.

Dr. Wong attempts to bridge the gap between the sciences and the arts through the use of gravity and phosphorescence, resulting in works teeming with controlled chaos and beauty. Studying the viscosity and density of the pigments that she uses, she paints with movement as her paintings become gravity-dependent.

Advocating art as a platform to promote the protection and preservation of the environment and raise awareness on environmental issues such as climate change, Latosa’s works show her affinity for water. To create the figurative abstraction of waves, she uses gesso, a white paint primer that stiffens canvas surfaces, allowing her acrylic pigments to keep its texture and giving her “waves” a constant sense of fluidity.

Geometric abstraction is quite prominent in Sebastian’s works. With his signature eruption of colors and precise brush strokes, the artist attempts to convey the complex relationship between man and nature, uniting and framing opposing ideas on a single canvas to illuminate their similarities and differences.

Inspired by the simultaneous chaos and balance of nature as well as the order and certainty of mathematics and science, Pastorizo’s works show vigorous and striking bursts of color, putting emphasis on contrasting concepts -– the constant and the dynamic, the organic and the industial, the ornate and the tranquil.

The nine artists’ collective works underscore the unifying power of art. “The visual dialogue for the artistic unions reveals the potential for differences to act as springboard for complementary and reciprocal relationships to flourish.”

“On the surface, these artworks are very different from each other. Looking closer, they all have their commonality. This exhibit shows our commonality as an artist. When I curated it, I wanted to show the cohesiveness as a group, but at the same time highlight the diversity, the uniqueness and the individuality,” shared Latosa during the opening of the exhibit recently.

ONE of Meneline Wong’s artworks, “After the Sunset.”

Leading the art exhibit opening were: SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation (HCC) president Elizabeth Sy, SM HCC EVP president Peggy Angeles, Conrad Manila general manager Laurent Boisdron, National Museum of the Philippines director Jeremy Barns, curator Nestor Jardin and the nine artists.

“We are proud to  welcome the new year with ‘Abstract Views’ at Gallery C, as the collection brings together a lineup of talented Filipino artists whose works perfectly blend with Conrad Manila’s contemporary and luxurious interiors. The exhibit’s innovative works, vibrant colors and thematic highlights complement our art program that is meant to further enhance the inspired experience of our guests,” Conrad Manila general manager Boisdron said.

“Abstract Views” is the 12th installation of the “Of Art and Wine” by Gallery C, the first exhibit for the new year. The exhibit is open to the public until March 2020.

For inquiries on the paintings on exhibit, call (632) 8833-9999 or (632) 7501-3270 to 71 or email conradmanila@conradhotels.com or altromondoart@gmail.com.

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