The year 2017 was a memorable one for Jane Ebarle, an abstractionist visual artist who developed her signature style of painting and creating images through threads of paint, notable for the fine and meticulous execution.
Without much fanfare, she was commissioned by the Malacañang Palace to create 25 works that were to be given as tokens to heads of states attending the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit that Manila was hosting. It was a humbling experience, a proud moment for Ebarle who was juggling her artistic ventures with her corporate career.
A native of Pangasinan, from the town of Lingayen, her early adventures into the world of art were paved with floral themes, painting mostly roses for greeting cards she would sell to her cousins of her age then.
Her artworks were also regular features in their elementary school’s bulletin board, and during high school she was the artist for her alma mater’s official newspaper.
She initially took up Architecture in college but shifted to Fine Arts because she was already having “nightmarish dreams about numbers.”
Ebarle describes her college years at the University of Santo Tomas as “tumultuous, hurly-burly four years of finishing never-ending school plates,” a fact that most fine arts students would definitely share.
Her artistic endeavors came to a halt during her challenging 19-year married life, rearing her children while having a marketing career, the same full-time job she keeps to this day.
Her heart for art later reignited and burst into flames, producing works that are both impressive and Filipino for the weaving patterns inspired by the many ethnolinguistic groups in the country.
Her art, abstract impressionism, is “suffering in a way because of self-imposed limitations brought about by my corporate discipline.”
Abstract impressionism, she said, “is the most confusing art (genre since) it is trying to navigate the hallows of an empty space and for most of the time, I would just blankly stare at the whiteness of its white.”
“Unless I can find my muse in the textures of a wooden curtain, in the uneven intricacies of a dilapidated wall, a used-up tarpaulin whose texts are lost in its worn-out fibers, a sheer cloth against the sunlight, then I can make my art,” she added.
With the different layers of paint, ideas, intricacies, and the hours of work needed in a single piece, a single Hibla (her signature) art work is finished once there is a “complete feeling of lightness.”
So far, aside from a number of group shows that she participated in, she has held nine solo exhibits in her “limited” career as an artist starting in 2008 at the Art Gallery of the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City.
This was followed by shows at the UST Museum in 2009; Renaissance Gallery in Mandaluyong in 2010 and 2011; Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore in 2011; The Philippine Center in New York in 2013; Blue and Grey Gallery in the Bonifacio Global City also in 2013; Hibla Gallery of the National Museum of Anthropology in 2015 to 2016; and at the Alliance Francaise du Manille in 2017.
She also held an exhibit at the Museo de la Salle in Dasmariñas City, Cavite, in 2016 where her works and talent were noticed and led to the 25 Malacañang -commissioned paintings the year after.
Her latest solo exhibit, “Impressions,” is going to be held at the Gallery Joaquin at the UP Town Center in Quezon City, from 20 to 29 April, featuring works done before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic including still-life, floral and portrait pieces.
In her artistic career, Ebarle has judged the prestigious Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE) contest and was one of the “100 Women Artists” of the National Committee on the Centennial of the Feminist Movement in the Philippines in 2004.
In 2011, she served as a panel speaker at the Asian Civilizations Museum’s “Marketplace of Creative Arts” forum and judged the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Ika-26 Gawad CCP para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video in 2014.
Two of her works are now in the collection of the National Museum of the Philippines where these are part of the textile gallery of the National Museum of Anthropology.
Now an accomplished artist, she keeps on creating masterpieces that inspire, pique interest and puzzle audiences.
She is truly a weaver of stories and different cultures, and a Filipino creative spirit. To the people close to her, she is simply an artist, a mother.