Who's filling up the walls of VOV?



Artist/Type of Exhibit : Gab Baez & Nix Puno

Date : June 7

Time : 6:00 PM

“Kasama na rin siguro yung sabik na nakangiti sila sa lente nang hindi pa nila agad malalaman kung tama yung ngiti nila, o malaki tiyan nila, or nakatirik ba mata nila, ” Gab wonders out loud, talking about photos from the 80’s. They are the primary reference materials for her paintings: other people’s old photos. “There’s something about how people used to take photos back then that appeals to me. Parang mas proper sila noon magdocument…dahil medyo [mahal] ang film.” She presents these photographs through painting, blurring most faces to conceal what may be a perfectly captured smile or an ill-timed snapshot.

“I used to be more immersed in the music industry. Not so much now. But I get to look at pictures and recognize some things,” Nix relates. Like Gab, he also borrows other people’s photos. In his case it’s active photographers around the music scene. In this series of paintings, he picks a peculiar set of photos –musicians in side view. “I think there’s an intimacy there that the photographers may not readily recognize,” he observes, “You don’t usually see them from that angle unless you find yourself onstage.”


Big Diff puts two artists with a whole bunch of similarities in contrast with each other:

Both reference photographs

Both deal with themes of time and relationships

Both hover around nostalgia

Both talk in value

Both talk about value

Both work on a relatively small scale

Both use the same color palette

Both make use of the immediacy of paper to mirror the instant-ness off picture taking

Both like putting snapshots through the time-consuming process of painting


Radio Waves

Artist/Type of Exhibit : Tiffany Lafuente, Faye Pamintuan, Ev Yu

Date : June 7

Time : 6:00 PM

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” ;

Usually we can interpret this as: there must be some good reason for an engaging sign to emerge; there must have been a fire for smoke to dissipate; something unfortunate must have happened for fire to ensue… Interpretation of a sign varies from one proximity, culture, and context to another. This duplicity of understanding is cleverly worded here by Barthes: “reasoning” consists of a series of metaphors: he takes a phenomenon and he submits it to an avalanche of points of view. Radio Waves alludes to this thinking, our tendency to dissect occasions, and extract individual connotations. 

For Radio Waves, artists Lafuente, Yu, and Pamintuan address the notion of the “everyday accident,” recalling a fire breaking out. In conception, all unfortunate becomings stem from the simplest of modern devices—a gas tank left fuming unattended, a broken fiber loosening the weave, creating a hole and then dislocating the contents of a bag, or a piece of porcelain mistakenly held, dropping on the floor—the unluckiest occasions are birthed by perhaps the most ordinary, mindless missteps. 

Bringing us closest to such imagery are the provoking and unsettling renditions of Lafuente. Immediately we register the tension of her composition’s otherwise undisturbed impression. Before her pieces, we are quite literally but some inches away from detailed upset. While detaching from instant suggestions, Yu has chosen to rather frame the anatomy of an accidental circumstance—illustrating instead the objects in setting which hold this disastrous potential. In panels, the artist subdues this potential into playful documents, returning them to their original naiveté. And furthest from direct references, Pamintuan closes in on the very fruit of catastrophe, zooming even more to singling out color as abstracted subject. Alluding to the vague, the artist quietly presents us but a hint of the outcome: a prominent bruise, swollen and warm. 

Given our capacity for tactlessness, Radio Waves vividly refers to the omnipresence of catastrophe laying dormant in the everyday; it is to us perhaps a consoling extension of fate-shared sympathy. 



Artist/Type of Exhibit : Jonas Eslao

Date : May 16

Time : 6:00 PM

Artist Jonas Eslao uses visual interpretations of a child’s play to mirror controversies that surround climate change and the denial of many about its existence, especially of legislators and other international leaders. In 2017, US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States to the Paris Agreement, which aims to strengthen the response in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The signatories to the agreement have pledged that through legal action, they will keep the increase in global temperature below 2°C. The United States of America alone contributes 14.36% of the world’s carbon footprint annually and this denial on climate change stems from the rhetoric that human activity is not the driver for the fluctuations in global temperature; this opposes scientific studies that burning of fossil fuels, for example, increases the concentration of carbon dioxide, hence, producing warmer conditions and eventually damaging the environment.
In this show, Eslao employs varying artistic techniques to hold the task of exposing the ironies and the problematic dissent of those who propagate denials and those who block legal initiatives to cut down on carbon emissions (majority of which from corporations with vested interests in coal and oil industries). Here, Eslao painted images of biblical monsters on each canvas and then, partially covers them with illustrations of plants. The spaces left uncovered reveal fragments of the monsters in waiting: a peek-a-boo to an impending catastrophe while we exchange arguments on the authenticity of our concerns towards climate change.
Interestingly so, developmental psychologists also relate this form of child’s play to demonstrate the ability of understanding object permanence among infants. Hence, those who circulate notions that human activity does not cause the changes in the environment can be compared to this stage of cognitive development: where we fail to recognize the damages and effects our greed and exploitation of nature as permanent and irreversible.
And so, Eslao takes us to where the form of peek-a-boo comes as a joke: surprising us as we wait for our turn to identify and admit to the mess that our hands have created; that while we cover the beasts and monsters signifying destruction of biblical proportions, we take a peek once more and there lies the undeniable truth: floods, melting of the arctic, sinking of islands, drought, and all that are meant to be destroyed because we failed to see the truth: PEEK-A-BOO!
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