A new show has been mounted at West Gallery, so I thought it was about time that I posted about the shows that came before that. I will actually be gradually making my way through all of my photos—of which there are a lot—and even though you can’t really visit the shows themselves anymore, I hope these posts are still appreciated. :)
If you weren’t already familiar with the format of West Gallery shows, there are typically four separate exhibits that are ongoing simultaneously. Sometimes, the whole space is occupied by a single artist, but most of the time, there are either group shows or solo exhibits in each room.
For this wave of exhibits, the first and biggest room held works by Manok Ventura. Among the three Ventura brothers (Manok, Ronald, and Olan), Manok’s work resonates with me the most. There was quite a bit of people in his area so I wasn’t able to take photos. Here’s one by Luis Santos/West Gallery, and you can find more here.
Entitled Souvenirs, Ventura’s show is comprised of a hodgepodge of items that look like the small “useless” tokens we hold onto, precious only because of the things they represent. They’re kind of like figureheads for memories. Or, I guess instant triggers if you want to remember certain things. I really love this exhibit, although it probably doesn’t look like it, since I didn’t even take any pictures.
In Gallery 2, Arturo Sanchez mounted his show, When Fear is your Only God, which was absolutely stunning. I think this may be my most favorite show by Art Sanchez to date—the quiet and disheveled rooms speak about desolation in a way that I can’t quite place. If you remember, I wrote about Art for Rogue (read the unedited version here) and I posted about that interview and studio visit here (dead link, atm).
Pieces of broken glass were strewn all over the space as well, giving the illusion of a suspended explosion, frozen in time. The paintings are beautiful and intimate; the inclusion of broken glass almost feels like an organic choice, despite being glaringly out of place, were it a normal scene from a normal day.
Sanchez has worked with glass and reflective surfaces before, but his usage here feels perfect and not contrived or too forced. There is a story behind the pieces, and the show itself, and that’s one of my favorite approaches to art.
The third space had a group show called Works on Paper, which featured pieces by artists Rene Bituin, Louie Cordero, Jigger Cruz, Beejay Esber, and my sister, Isabel Santos. This was her first group show (not counting one of the 12×9 exhibits that West Gallery used to put up), so it was pretty exciting.
There was quite a lot of apprehension on her part, to pursue art as an adult, since her style and aesthetic differs quite a lot from what the rest of us in the family tend to favor. She likes color and boldness and I remember that when we were little, my usual “critique” for her (that she would ask for!) is that her colors are too bold or too bright. I think that’s a pretty clear example of how different things make sense to people in different ways.
It’s funny, though, because I was always the quiet one and she was the more animated sister. I think it’s pretty cool that it’s reflected in the things that we make. Another funny thing: Isabel was always the kid everyone expected to take up fine arts, since she grew up loving it so much. Anyway, I am really proud of her. :)
This was the first time I encountered Rene Bituin and Beejay Esber. I quite enjoyed their pieces. Rene Bituin’s style is very recognizable and distinct. A few days/weeks after this show, I saw a group show at Blanc where he had some pieces displayed and it was immediately apparent which ones were his. I don’t know if I could do that myself, but I’ve always been somewhat fickle when it comes to certain things.
I’ve been a big fan of Louie’s for quite a while, and when it comes to his type of work—where it is heavily reliant on imagination—I am automatically in awe, since I am the type of person who is always sort of uncertain when it comes to creating things. I think it’s why I favor making collages most of the time. The images are already there, I just have to put them together. Louie’s compositions always have something new to say, I feel.
This was also fascinating to see. These works by Jigger are actually my dad’s personal collection, so they weren’t for sale, but how wonderful it is to see beautiful, unfamiliar work by an artist that makes you see them in a whole new light. Jigger Cruz is known for his very heavy use of paint, often on top of a different painting. It’s not everyday that you encounter watercolors by this artist, and seeing beautiful work outside of his “familiar,” popular medium was really special.
You can see photos of Works on Paper here.
In the last room, Gallery 4, my brother’s exhibit, Nocturne was on display. I’m sorry if it is nepotism (lol), but I think he is brilliant. In Nocturne, he reproduces five crumpled sheets of metal as shaped paintings, wrapped around three walls of the space. The walls are painted black, and the works are lit by floodlights. There is drama, and I love it.
I think it’s pretty interesting how the paintings flow and remain rigid and stiff at the same time. Again, the photos of Nocturne can be found here. I highly suggest taking a look, since it is seriously awesome.
On another note, writing this post a couple of weeks after the fact made me realize how awful and beautiful the impermanence of exhibits is. It makes me want to go out and look at more shows on display, because we always mean to go until it’s over and then we don’t get to. Now if I can just bring myself to learn how to drive.
Andres Barrioquinto’s show opened at West tonight, which ironically I didn’t get to catch since I have been quite sick.
48 West Avenue, Quezon City
Mon-Sat, 10:00am – 5:00pm