Khristina Manansala’s ‘Colours and Vision’
She is blessed with a double-edged gift: the glory of a great name and the immense responsibility and challenge of living up to it.
Khristina Manansala is the granddaughter of the revered National Artist Vicente Manansala, whose name is synonymous with Transparent Cubism, a brilliant indigenization of the greatest art movement in modern art.
How, indeed, can a progeny or descendant possibly equal, or even surpass, a master whose works have entered the sacred canon of Philippine art history?
Was it not Brancusi, remarking on his experience of apprenticeship under the great Romantic sculptor Rodin, who observed that “Nothing grows under the shadow of a great oak tree”?
How then was the young Khristina, despite the tutelage and inspiration of his illustrious grandfather, to grow and soar and spread her own wings? Where would she find the strength to renounce the shackles of an irresistible influence?
But spread her own wings she did. And her recent show at Art Elements Asian Gallery “Colours and Vision,” is proof positive that Khristina has found her voice, with its own timbre and rhythm, and, yes, colors and vision.
The works on view are a woman’s surrealistic fantasies, rendered in vivid and high-keyed colors, and sparkling with blooms, bubbles and butterflies, glistening koi and Cubist still lifes, owls and roosters, checkerboards, starbursts and diamond patterns, all crystallizing before her very eyes.
One work, “Silent Portfolio,” depicts a woman holding a paint brush, and which should well be a distinct clue that the woman on canvas may be the artist herself, a transposition of one’s self as the integral persona of her works, around which Khristina projects her own imaginings.
She is variously attired and coiffured as if in a diorama, caught in the balance of an art/life sphere.
In “Complex Tube of Innocence,” the manifest presence of still lifes are indubitably a reference to her grandfather’s original works.
Indeed, in the past, Khristina has had to undergo a kind of psychic purging of the Manansala influence, when she purposely channeled the Master’s works into her own, such iconic images as the Crucifixion, the vendors, the family at mealtime, the Mother and Child, and the kitchen still lifes.
The effectiveness of such a rigorous exercise can only be surmised: Confronting her grandfather’s legacy may yet be the only means of escape in order to find her true artistic self, and veritably, it was Khristina’s necessary aesthetic catharsis. —CONTRIBUTED
Art Elements Asian Gallery, 3/L SM Aura Premier, Taguig.
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