A panorama of the main hall.
A panorama of the extension hall.
When you open the door to Iloilo Museum, you open yourself to subjects of change. Meticulously arranged golden plates leading to a TV screen as if pointing you to the past in a reverse medium will greet you as you enter. One of the plates has trace of tiny cracks just like the past and the present that are being held together by this exhibit called Subject to Change.
The golden plates served as the platform to Liby Norman Limoso’s “Para sa Daranggan” a four dimensional storytelling of the Panay epic Sugidanon. Limoso is one of the 15 Ilonggo artists presenting their art and representing the Iloilo art community.
On the side of the room hangs an attention grabbing painting of a boy pedaling a bike attached to a figure of builders that look as if they’re constructing the bikers burden. “Hook Up” by Richard de la Cruz is unsettling with the tactile presence of paint and somber tone making the burden on the biker’s back appear heavier. The redeeming factor however, is the biker himself, he has both feet on the pedals and seem to be biking forward.
One of the paintings appear to speak directly about muses. One of them is Mark Nativo’s “Scented Memories” The audience is shown a face covered in pink lilies and dripping paint. One would probably think that this is the artist’s experience when painting, he smells paint like he smells flowers. Nativo depicts intense softness through the contrast of greyscale and bright colors.
One of the most striking images in this exhibit is Allain Hablo’s “Now”. It is a portrait of the artist’s wife. She looks at the audience with commanding yet pleading gaze. The mole on her right cheek says there is no one like her. She has keys as choker hanging heavily around her neck. Keys that the artist says are the symbol of responsibilities. Looking at the portrait is almost like looking at a worn out memory of a mother, a wife, or a future self.
Melvin Guirhem’s style is interesting with his abundant use of shapes to create bigger shapes. He also uses tiny lines to exaggerate figures. “Point of Departure” depicts a dog and man in a forest of pointy shapes and whimsical colors that make up the trees.
Every artists participating in the show has distinctive styles, Leonil Cerbas display his in Slave a surreal depiction of an almost too real feeling. A pug sleeping comfortably on a cushioned chair while a man sleeps under. The painting easily gives away who the slave is. Cerbas captures the gravity through the falling furs of the dog. The contrast of the yellow wall against the darkness of the shadow where the man sleeps effectively divides the master and slave relationship.
Rock Drilon’s “Green Line” is seen from afar as a chopping board where a butcher’s knife lay. The mysterious green line that outlines the edge of the knife looks treacherous. It cuts through the colors and splatters. It has butchered something, and this painting succeeds in letting the audience guess what that was.
Another interesting work is Jeline Laporga’s “The Wrong Side of History”. It appears like a brown cut out from an old scroll. On the other side of this canvas is the text of Presidential Decree 1081, declaring the country under Martial Law. It is an intelligent concept that successfully uses art to convey social messages of greater relevance. The canvas itself looks old much like the ideals of the people who resisted Martial Law.
Edmar Colmo’s “Unang Yugto” is a surreal image of a wide eyed child with his back on a close-eyed lady and man. Audience can presume that this is an interpretation of a child leaving his nest. The dominant red color adds more tension to this work while the details intensify the intrigue.
Looking at Cezar Arro’s “Sependipity Face Out”, at first it may look as if it’s a pattern of orderly scattered lines and shapes. Stepping further away from it provides you a look of a woman’s face with brown eyes staring almost deep into your soul. The artists muse immerses as the audience disappears.
Marrz Capanang’s Byahe looks like a dystopian scene with faces of children burried under a deteriorating night skyline. Flying object hovers as a city is left in the shadow as a jumbled industrial mess. The artist succeeded in putting too much on the picture without being overcrowded and only evoking claustrophobia. The shades of black and gray effectively provided intense grit to this scene.
The lightest painting on this show is Ed Defensor’s “Bluestruck 03”. It is a mossaic of clouds making an almost dreamy pattern of bright colors and fibers floating in sky, something that you would look at and feel relieved after.
PG Zoluaga’s “Landfall” which is made of plastic taken from the aftermath of Haiyan, and “Habitat” are perfect example of a painting that uses texture to evoke feelings from its audience. It provides the eyes with depth much like the intensity of the images that it presents.
Jzy Tilos’ “Esfuerzo Cooperativo con una Razon” and “Serenata” are distorted images of communities. They appear like disfigured people with exaggerated body parts depicting slices of daily life. The scenes are familiar but the people are not. It is the artist’s interpretation of the society and how its components work and he presented it to the audience in a way that will leave them in wonder.
Arel Zambarrano’s “Homecoming II” is a fiery piece with candle’s melting and swallowing human figures. It is almost like a hellish scene with chess peices falling from the red ember filled canopy that looks like a sky. This bold painting evokes a feeling of life being sucked in by fiery quicksand.
Most of the artworks evokes theme of struggle, beauty, gloom and confusion. The audience is left contemplating on the subjects that inspire change. The exhibit was organized as part of the 117th Philippine Independence Day celebration.