Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Towards more whimsy and innocence

Following is my artist's statement accompanying my ninth solo exhibition "Sampayan Blues." I let some weeks go by after the Oct. 14 opening, including the aftermath of Typhoon Lando so I don't appear insensitive to the loss of lives and property of others. But I did make a commitment to the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary (MES) in whose The Sanctuary Gallery the show is on display that I would do my "bestest" to promote and market the show.

Proceeds from the sale of all-new, 2015 works all go to the sanctuary in its environmental conservation mission and in the upkeep of its new chapel. "Sampayan Blues" is on show until Nov. 24 so those coming up to Baguio for the semestral and Halloween break can add it to their cultural tripping. Enjoy some of the paintings on exhibit.

In the middle of it all is an installation not unlike a child's crib mobile with a wash basin at the bottom. There is a portrait of the artist cut out from a chip board and the products of her imagination are floating over her head. Gotta see it to believe it. For the installation, I am greatly indebted to visual artists EV Espiritu and Clem Delim for helping out in the conceptualization and execution. Thanks, guys!

The MES is located at 25 North Santo Tomas Road, Campo Sioco, Baguio City.


“A Geisha Dreams”
40.5 x 50 cms.
Mixed media on canvas paper


“Be Light, Be Salt, Be Seamstress, Be Doll”
40.5 x 50 cms.
Acrylic on canvas paper


“Kids on Cat Mountain”
40.5 x 50 cms.
Acrylic on paper canvas


“My Dress for the Intergalactic Ball Hangs There”
50 x 40.5 cms
Acrylic on paper canvas


“Poured My Heart Out and This is What I Get”
40.5 x 50 cms.
Mixed media on paper canvas


“Light as a Kite My Angel Feels”
61 x 45.5 cms.
Acrylic on canvas paper

“Storm Surge”
45.5 x 58 cms.
Mixed media on canvas


“The Laughing Matryoshkas”
61 x 45.5 cms.
Acrylic on canvas paper

“Paisley Shower in the Year of the Sheep”
61 x 45.5 cms.
Mixed media on canvas paper


“Picasso Moment”
23 x 30.2 cm
Mixed media on paper


With collaborating artist EV Espiritu

When the Lolarga-Fernandez family moved up to Baguio in June 1992 for a fresh start, the major adjustment the fulltime homemaker had to make was ensuring there were enough dry clothes for all. Hardly had the freshly wrung laundry been pinned for drying on the clothesline and exposure to the morning sun when the skies would turn treacherously gray and the monsoon cometh.

A friend’s practical advice was: “Have a lot of hangers ready.”
“Sampayan Blues” is partly inspired by the past memory of a housewife hauling in the laundry and hanging them inside the house when the rains pour, then hauling them outdoors again when the downpour stops. It was a cat and mouse game that went on until an automatic washing machine helped solve the drying problem.

Baguio’s monsoon brings days and nights of wind and rain, sometimes without let-up. Wet laundry takes longer to dry and becomes smelly, walls and shoes become moldy, moods are subject to the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Painting had become a way of managing SAD, art allowing the soul to roam freely even in confined quarters.

Every mother is a working mother, no doubt. Even if a painter works from home, there are duties to be addressed: dry laundry to fold and distribute to respective family members’ cabinets, a meal to prepare, a young child to be minded, to keep company with while the television is on.

Or the child is invited to join in the mixing of colors and the forming of shapes. Inevitably, that outer world of floors strewn with toys and unfinished activities (both child and adult coloring books and pencils) impinge on one’s consciousness. Images of whimsy and innocence find themselves on the canvases that look like pages from a child’s Book of Days.

Behind each painting are the painter’s scribbled, journal-like notes on the making of each work. These “doodles” and “notes” also serve the function of authentication papers for each work. The canvas sheets after all were torn from a pad of canvas paper.

The furniture and furnishings inside the gallery space are meant to recreate the home ambience or the context where paintings came from. The mood aimed for is a rainy day in Baguio, the soft light perfect for contemplation or contemplation in action (painting).


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