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Silverlens: Balik-loob by Alfredo Esquillo, Jr.

  • Silverlens 2263 Don Chino Roces Avenue Extension Makati City 1231 Philippines (map)

SILVERLENS is pleased to announce the solo exhibition of Alfredo Esquillo, one of the highlights of his silver anniversary celebration as an artist, and his first with the gallery. Titled Balik-Loob, the show revisits Esquillo’s fluency in the medium of oil-on-paper, which the artist methodically began exploring at the beginning of the millennium. Characterized by a monochromatic luminosity and a spare aesthetic, the works nonetheless embody the highly symbolic visual language that Esquillo has cultivated through the years.

Hewing closely to the tenets of religious iconography, the works feature ordinary individuals in the center of the composition bearing marks of Biblical import—from the crown of thorns, to the stigmata of Christ, to the fish that are metaphorically resonant especially to the Christian faith. The medium is the flesh through which the mundane and the spiritual, the secular and the religious intersect.

For Esquillo, the concept of “loob” signifies not mere interiority but a structure of compulsions and motivations through which the “labas”—the external reality—may be made manifest. As such, the works are not simply reflective of a mere voyage to the interior of self but an active, radical acknowledgment of the shifting zones of the real as it is being constantly transformed and re-transformed by the insights one gains as being embedded in the world.

Complementing this suite of works is the collaboration between Esquillo and Anthony Victoria, formally established as “Eski + Victoria.” With Esquillo’s symbolic figuration and Victoria’s use of metal, the two artists, who are long-time friends, generate a mutable portrait as the surface of the medium—etched, buffered, painted—reflects back the image of the viewer, incorporating them into the “loob” of these highly-charged and unforgettable works.

- Carlomar Arcangel Daoana