Ricco Renzo Galleries puts on view a three-person exhibit entitled “EKZENA” which opens on May 22, 2009. Revolving around the perception of “scenes,” the mind-set of Zen and the concepts of lyrical abstraction, the title has inference to a philosophy where art is presented in a style that combines maximum of technique and a minimum of planning and deliberation. However, the abstractions presented are not the haphazard approach for art’s sake, but of the manner by which the artwork impacts on the viewer.


Scenes are very much a part of everything that is art.  A scene can be a subject or the content the artist will portray but it can also be the place and venue where an event takes place.  To create and make a scene implies action and movement.  This action of a scene is the very essence of the phenomenon of a happening.  The occurrence of an art happening alludes to an improvised spontaneous art activity or exhibit where the eyes of an audience are treated to art that is free and unpredictable.  Spontaneous abstract art can not be planned and predetermined.  Pure and clean abstraction excites visual perception.  Looking at an abstract painting oftentimes creates individualistic episodes depending on how the viewer views it.  Abstraction is open to varied opinion and interpretations.  It combines free will, intellect, intuition and instinct. 


EKZENA, an abstract art exhibition by the triumvirate of artists namely JCrisanto Martinez, Sio Montera and Javy Villacin suggest all of the things and incidents mentioned above.  Each artist presents a personal series of works that tackle chosen themes like time, space, the journey of life, death, wisdom, and the paradoxes of our human condition.


JCrisanto Martinez’s oeuvres reflect on “time” as a sinuous medium to be maneuvered similarly as paint. His washes of acrylics on burlap delve into the continuum of time. By layering images, Martinez incorporates undertones and meanings that summon a response by the viewer. At one end of the premise of his series’ working concept is to defy the notion of art as perceive merely by sight. Intuition – which is the state of knowing something instinctively, or the immediate knowledge of something – as a word and a process came as a challenge to the artist in developing this series.


Sio Montera’s mixed media explore on “free form.” These impasto art pieces bring him to the state of mind where the cerebral authority rules over “art;” an awakening of the artist’s subliminal self. As the outcomes are unpredictable, the artist is conscious all throughout in what he is doing, while freeing himself at the same time from representations that limit visual perception.


The large canvasses of Javy Villacin continue and deepen his foray into the dream world. The aggregate of works aptly about “shambala” which is a “higher level of consciousness and spirituality,” Villacin reinforces his fascination with this dream world that straddles many states of consciousness by focusing more on the emotional atmosphere and visual resonance. But the basic elements of a Villacin artwork are the usual pencil backgrounds that rejoice the reticence, the daring even, in some cases, the mayhem of drawing.


The three artists are highly individual players who have all made a niche in the arena of abstraction.  Though a happening is a scene or an ekzena in the confines of a gallery it very much includes the creation of an overall feeling of a contained atmosphere in a walled environment.  Abstractions can be a trip to an altered state and an environment in an alternate dimension.  As products of potent minds, abstract art embraces all and everything the heart and mind can originally conceived and at the same time alienates impossibilities.


EKZENA will be on view at Ricco Renzo Galleries starting May 22, 2009 at 7pm with an opening cocktail. The exhibit runs until June 11, 2009. The Ricco Renzo Galleries is located at the LRI Design Plaza, 210 Nicanor Garcia St., Bel-Air II, Makati City, Philippines. For inquiry please call 898-2545 or 0927-386-1460, email kbn@riccorenzo.com or visit www.riccorenzo.com. [ARTEPINAS / JCrisanto Martinez / Ritchie Landis Doner Quijano]





The nude is every painter’s exercise, a master’s valuable series. It is where personal style and sensibility become stark – testing a painter’s commitment to practice, rooting

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him or her to craft which is an essential mark of serious aesthetics. The breadth and depth of variety and potential of the appropriated and actual woman is best expounded in the female nude. In Ode to a beautiful nude, Sequi Cu Unjieng gently inspects and celebrates this puzzle of womanhood, this enigma of an empire. Ode to a beautiful nude is Sequi speaking as a woman about women.

The beauty of the woman is exuded in the austere elements that make up each frame

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of the series. The image of Sequi’s women is without pomp, sans brash surfaces of social identity. In her aim to strip the woman of anything that would possibly lead to a superficial grasp, Sequi produces an expanse of identity. Her nudes perform the various layers of the woman, somewhat becoming sites where at one time or another, our own faces emerge from Sequi’s faceless figures.

Each nude is not set apart by particular physical features but through a vibe, a pose, or a gesture that would give away the subject’s significant trait. Sequi chooses to depict the anonymous women as they walk away, confront, mingle and dream. Ode to a beautiful nude astutely identifies such layers that women encompass – at times extremes, at best complementary. The woman teeters and swings through ends and absolutes so naturally that binaries are cancelled out – the woman is certain particulars (regality, ferocity, independence, loyalty, joie de vivre, calculating) at the same a seamless whole. As much as the ambivalence of the woman is found in the lack of features of Sequi’s nudes, the confidence of her lines and the intentionally limited color range of the artist’s palette celebrate the severer, and more controlled side of the woman.

The identities of the sitters are unknown. In this ambiguity, the nudes become one consistent woman in every frame – and not. They are figures that become the collective woman – women – and the individual woman. As they are stripped of any indication of roles – mother, daughter, friend, lover, worker, martyr, kontrabida – what is magnified is the intersection of many contradictory qualities in every woman.

Ode to a beautiful nude is Sequi’s first solo exhibition. She remakes what is closest to her, making every vibe of the sitter operate on an intuitive pull. In such modest aesthetics, Sequi manages to produce a visual vocabulary of women that is touching and intimate. Ode to a beautiful nude is a tribute to all women and the multitudes that they contain.


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Lucky Me show by E. J. Cabangon

Kaida Gallery welcomes the Chinese New Year with

Lucky Me

E.J. Cabangon’s 7th one-man exhibition

1 – 18 February 2009

Kaida Gallery marks the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations with Lucky Me, E.J. Cabangon’s 7th one-man show of photorealistic oil-on-canvas paintings of Chinese feng-shui figurines.

Exquisitely rendered in fine detail and vivid colors, the paintings in the exhibition depict various figurines used to celebrate the Chinese New Year: figurines of dragons, foo dogs, the three wise men of ancient Chinese folklore, and animal signs of the Chinese lunar calendar. Captured in Cabangon’s signature painting technique, where minute details are faithfully reproduced and captured as if on film, the two-dimensional figurines seem to take on a life on their own, animated by the artist’s realistic execution of form.

The exhibition derives its title from a local brand of instant noodles popular among the masses. It is also a reference to the strong associations and aspirations for good luck attributed to feng shui. The phrase Lucky Me thus alludes to both the Filipino trait of perseverance and flexibility in hard and desperate times, and the popular adherence to world views or beliefs on how to change one’s present status—feng shui being among the most popular forms in the country at present.

The show is a tribute to the power of traditional symbolism and beliefs in giving guidance and meaning for many people. The image of the dragon, for instance, is said to be a bearer of good luck, while the image of the three wise men (Fuk, Luk, and Sau) in Chinese folklore manifestations of longevity, prosperity, and power.

“Life can sometimes be confusing, chaotic, or deranged, so we tend to have faith in something that is visible to our senses even if an individual doesn’t fully understand it,” the artist says in a statement.

Cabangon also infuses contemporary Filipino humor into his images of traditional Chinese symbols. The artist entitles his paintings of foo dogs, popularly believed to serve as symbolic guardians on one’s property from bad spirits, as Bantay and Ang Jowa ni Bantay, making use of a common Filipino name for male pet dogs and local slang term for spouse or partner. Such intentional renaming of images brings traditional Chinese images closer to popular Filipino culture.

Lucky Me opens on February 1 (Sunday), 6 p.m., at Kaida Gallery, located at the 2nd Floor, GFO Building, 122 Kamuning Road, Quezon City, Philippines 1102. The show runs until the 18th of February 2009. For inquiries, please call (632) 4144777 or write info@kaidagallery.com.

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Art Beyond Appearances: Caring for Amorsolo’s Legacy

04 February – 03 May 2009

Kawilihan Gallery

2/F, UP Vargas Museum



The exhibition Art Beyond Appearances: Caring for Amorsolo’s Legacy opens on 4 February, Tuesday at 6 pm, to culminate the two-year long collaboration between three units of the University of the Philippines Diliman – the Jorge B. Vargas Museum, the National Institute of Physics, and the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering. It aims to promote an interdisciplinary approach to understand and care for our country’s tangible cultural assets through the expertise of individuals from the arts and sciences. 


Focusing on the works of Fernando Amorsolo, the first National Artist, and his contemporaries from the Vargas Museum collection, the exhibit presents the integration of physics and electronics engineering to develop non-invasive tools and techniques in analyzing oil on canvas paintings.  It will feature visual and scientific analysis of artworks with interactive components to explain optical measurements and digital archiving of the painters’ signature techniques such as color palette and surface texture.  The project also looks into preventive conservation concepts and will be demonstrated with the installation of wireless temperature and relative humidity sensors throughout the gallery. 


The project team will also hold a two-day workshop on April 16 & 17 to share techniques developed in digital archiving and indoor climate monitoring. Limited slots are available and priority will be given to museum personnel. 


For more details, contact the UP Vargas Museum at 981-8500 loc 4024, 928-1927 and 928-1925 (fax).  You can also send your inquiries via email to vargasmuseum@gmail.com or visit the website www.vargasmuseum.org.  The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am to 4 pm.


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