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West Gallery: Lines Compositions Patterns Repetitions / Botikang Walang Gamot / Eternally Up In The Air

  • West Gallery 48 West Avenue Quezon City, NCR, 1104 Philippines (map)

Lines Compositions Patterns Repetitions
Luis Lorenzana
Gallery 1 & 3

The second show since Luis Lorenzana’s intentional departure from the colorful, painterly style associated with most of his artistic career, Lines Compositions Patterns Repetitions marks the change in his point of view. Spanning two rooms, Lorenzana approaches the reframing of his practice in two ways, with both falling under a specificity of intention: to focus on the materiality of his chosen mediums.

In Gallery 1, he relies on the resulting precarity of color arrived at by the relationships between his chosen hues, The paintings are shaped by the muted selection, further killed by the introduction of a variation of greys. Although the figures may still be recognizable as those previously painted by Lorenzana — a familiar “style” of figuration, as it were — there is an underlying abstraction present in the compositions, further intensified by the insistence on the sombreness of colors, a visual exercise in restraint, and lines that delineate but also join each fragment together to create a whole. Each work is the result of different shapes and arbitrations joined together to evoke something specific through their varying configurations.

Lorenzana continues the conversation in Gallery 3, fully embracing the freedom and discomfort that comes with the exploration of unfamiliar territory. Spurred on by his encounters with ideas and readymades by artists such as Philip Guston, Chris Burden, Marcel Duchamp, and László Moholy-Nagy, he transposes these ideas to objects ubiquitous in a working Filipino’s everyday life.

The basahan or floor rugs sold along any street bank in the metropolis have a place in a common Filipino home, and in his second show of Lines, Lorenzana finds room for them, too. Irresistible in its obvious construction as a potential readymade, the basahan is both magical and beautiful in itself, a simple interlocking weaving that serves a purpose evokes a certain kind of nostalgia for those that grew up around such objects. Imbued with a particular character that Lorenzana was in search for, the slew of basahan he used are carefully selected and joined together, an attempt at making something as common as these objects seem new again.

The incorporation of LED signs into this series of work explores still ideas of repetition and familiarity. Nestled between the woven threads, the lights spell out names we may give to the work at hand. “Art,” some say in a steady and constant rhythm, and “sculpture” accompanies a wok covered with rugs while still retaining its shape. The inclusion of these signs mimic the act of naming, too: ascribing to an object — found and selected — something that renews and regenerates its character and its essence.

— Carina Santos

Botikang Walang Gamot
Doktor Karayom
Gallery 2

Doktor Karayom Write Up.jpg

Eternally Up In The Air
Kelli Maeshiro
Gallery 4

Kelli Maeshiro’s “Eternally Up in the Air” is a deep plunge into the pools of abstract painting that tread around the fringes of craft and design, while broaching the question of identity in the age of globalization.

Cropped in windows of azure fields awashed in subtle modalities of mood – an ambient impressionism for the digital age, these cloud-like formations by Maeshiro become fertile grounds for the intersection of memory and desire, material and simulation, tradition and the new. Ostensibly, the billowing vapor forms contract and expand on the picture surface that provide an experience of time progression and spatial depth, welcoming the entry of figurative information and relational imagery that might refer to a certain history, whether individual or cultural, or otherwise, with the mere randomness of signs to give way to the necessity of narrative. These widening universal grounds that Maeshiro provides in order to simulate a metaphysical encounter are foiled by varieties of artistic strategies, aforementioned is the introduction of recognizable figures and things, drawn and delineated like heavenly constellations high above where each connection made are attributed with a story of origins, Being, or a forecast of the future based on those relationships. We recognize bodies standing or waiting, in modes of transition, of traveling in-between stops, eternally up in the air: stories, data, profiles, uploaded and stored above the “cloud”, flowing through a global network of abstract currency. Besides these figurative fragments, appearing also are outlines of flora applied allover in design that break the representational reading with a stylized ornamental abstraction. Which carried further, functioning also as another foil in the seam of cloud simulacra, is the application of craft via soft edged curve-contoured paper and textile cutouts that push forward from the flat picture plane, as if bursting forth in Mannerist direction, giving the work a three dimensional presence to it. Nonetheless, the hybrid composition between surface and material gives the work another metaphor about transitional states which Maeshiro attributes as well to the contradiction and temporality of one’s being today. Color also becomes Maeshiro’s strength in presenting the shifts of mood and temperature, alongside the technical precision of her lines and swarming composition, in bringing the viewer to another time and place. The embrace of this warm saturation together with icy glints of blue across the picture creates the same comforts as seasonal environments, summers in the arctic, accessible pleasure on archive. In this series of ambient emotions, luxuriant design, and material play, Maeshiro confronts the paradox of modernist painting of remaining true to its medium specificity, of pushing paint so that it might appear something else without relinquishing its essential material, by way of abstraction, and by extension through craft – a critique of primary disciplines as “minor literature” in hand made creative production; while additionally producing a dynamic interaction between forms to create subjectivity, pleasure, and meaning.

— Arvin Flores