Resurgence

Santa Muerte: Baring My Soul
121.9 cm x 121.9 cm
Oil on canvas
2012

I had my second solo painting exhibition last December 1-16, 2012 at JIV Manila Art Gallery. The concept was not what I originally planned after my first one back in 2008, but I’d say it was a timely one after almost 4 years of dabbling and participating in group shows. While my former series of paintings were a mix of my own stories, of friends’, and those taken from fairytales and folklore, the pieces I mounted for this show were very personal – inspirations and thoughts distilled, filtered, and controlled just the way I like it. Ultimately, the process of creating the exhibit pieces was a catharsis of some sort. And yes, the show was aptly entitled “Resurgence.”

Human experiences often overwhelm us like the night obscuring the light of the soul. In the exhibit of Katrina Pallon, women posed in equanimity are set against stark colors of flora. Ephemeral emotions shine through the backdrop of flowers that frame women’s bodies and gazes that display mostly nonchalance, perhaps referencing how the artist had dealt with life during her trying times.

Katrina Pallon’s dream-like images draw from the melancholy of the past and a contemporary Pan-Asian style to rise above these emotions that have long beset her. Albert Goldbarth once articulated that “The night may be long but it passes, marking the transitory nature of pain.”

The artworks reference the grief that one normally feels after a breakdown – contained in its two-dimensional form, yet transcending the affective reach with its sensation of vivid colors and fluid lines – like the crimson stirring in one’s sorrow. These are some of the emotions that overwhelmed the artist when her grandfather passed away. One’s sense of loss upon the death of a loved one, melancholia, and acceptance through time are thus embodied in her artworks. Affect that is otherwise grim and dreary, is instead converted to beauty that arrests the viewer’s sensorium of images. The paintings radiate a psychedelic feel that immerses us in a labyrinth of sensations that leads us into the artist’s embodied thoughts and feelings, where some are sporadic and spontaneous as her world is. One can therefore learn to embrace the impermanence that surrounds us as we transcend our interstitial states of being. Within the endless dialectic of thought and emotion, the exhibit offers a glimpse of the artist’s soul, her path to recovery and rediscovery, as she tries to build her life again. Indeed, the resurgence of one’s self.

(Words by curator Kevin Tabora)

IMG_5327(min) IMG_5332(min)Santa Muerte was intended to be part of a different exhibit. I started working on it back in June of 2012 but had to discontinue due to unfortunate circumstances that were beyond my control. Four months later, I found myself rehashing the concept, erasing old pencil work, and continuing the painting for my solo show. Having been able to finish a piece I’ve abandoned for some time proved to be fulfilling, especially one that I didn’t think I’d manage or bring myself to complete.
IMG_5329(min) IMG_5326(min) IMG_5321(min)The original idea was to paint her as how she is normally portrayed – a skeletal female figure clad in robes, sort of a dark Virgin of Guadalupe with a globe in one hand and a scythe in the other. I felt that this cold depiction of hers does not sit well with my exhibit theme, so I decided to humanize her, giving her flesh and a skull for a mask with the eyes and nose remaining hollow. A stem of orchids flourishes from her heart, while huge cattleyas, dahlias, and more orchids bloom in the background.

Behind the cut are a few photos from the exhibit opening.

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Daughters of the Sea

daughters_of_the_sea

Daughters of the Sea
91.4 cm x 121.9 cm
Oil on canvas
2012

Fresh from a trip from Indonesia back in March of 2012, I was inspired to make a painting based on the myth of Nyai Roro Kidul, who was one of the favorite painting subjects in galleries we visited around Yogyakarta and Bali. Known as the “Queen of the Southern Sea of Java” or “Queen of the South Sea,” she is a legendary spirit depicted as a mermaid with a lower part of the body of a snake. She dwells in the heart of the sea and is said to control the violent waves of the Indian Ocean, taking the souls of anything or anyone she wished for.

I had conceptualized a series of paintings based on my friends’ tattoos during the early part of 2012, but never got to put them all together in one show. For this particular Indonesian myth-inspired painting, I decided that my friends Gab and Noelle would be the perfect muses – Gab has an octopus tattoo on the upper right side of her back, while Noelle has a jellyfish tattoo on her right chest.
No Indonesian-inspired painting is complete without batik patterns. It was actually fun copying ornate patterns on scarves and purses I purchased during my trip.
Instead of giving them lower bodies of snakes, I decided to place octopus tentacles since the warm colour of which suits the vibrant batik patterns. Balinese floral headdresses complete their look.