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Manix Abrera’s new solo explores adventure of uncertainty

Popular cartoonist Manix Abrera tackles the idea of the ‘unexpected path’ in his fourth solo exhibition, ‘Mandirigmang Kalawakan’ starting Feb. 3 at Galerie Stephanie in Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong
/ 02:30 AM January 29, 2018

“Mandirigma ng Luwal-Hati”

Continuously heralded by a singular prominent character amid an engulfing overgrowth, Manix Abrera’s pieces portray a wonderful sense of balance between solitude and chaos.

The name Manix Abrera (sometimes completed with a smiling icon or a jumping figure at the end) has resonated as a popular reference in the comics industry.

For more than a decade, Manix has produced thousands of comic strips appearing in the Inquirer, magazines, a dedicated section in a news website and even on junk food packaging.  

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His Kikomachine Komix’s immense following has materialized in 13 book compilations under Visprint. He even produced two silent comic books “12” and “14” to back up his publication repertoire.

“Sandugo”

Strongly influenced by Hergé and Moebius, Manix deviates a similar sense of philosophy and heart in his works, cultivating his storyline with Filipino quirks and antics.

A product of the University of the Philippines Diliman, Manix seeks to narrate the wonders of making choices visualized as paths.

“Mandirigmang Kalawakan” is vaguely reminiscent of one of Robert Frost’s famous poems, with a harmonious echo of human sentiments.

Manix said he enjoyed this dedicated work process as it revolved on a central theme. However, the artworks still hold independent stories and deviates from his usual comic series setup.

Take for instance his “Dalingsil” and “Unang Ulan ng Mayo.” The first presents a lone figure in the middle of a dense cluster, exuding a dreadful yet exciting feeling of being lost or going astray.

“Diwata ng Kalawakan”

The second work manifests the popular belief of being blessed with luck during the first rain of May as seen in its animated alien-like foliage receiving the faint droplets.

These two seemingly unrelated artwork welcome the wonders of ambiguity.

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Fond of patterns, Manix found it enjoyable to integrate very detailed and seemingly organized squiggles.

His process begins with ink on paper, which is later on painted digitally. By incorporating creative digital trends, he puts gravity on the digital art scene.

When asked what artwork best reflects the exhibit’s concept, Manix cites “Mandirigmang Luwal-hati” as the flag bearer.

This piece indeed spells well what Manix has been trying to narrate—a lone character looking at an “entrance” to another world, whatever kind of world it may be interpreted as.

It bombards us with emotions of fear, anticipation, curiosity and self-discovery—all pivotal elements of classic adventures.

This digitally rendered artwork presents a stark transformation in scenery with the forest combusting in cool, quiet shades of blue and purple, and energetic accents of red, to amplify the passage to a new chapter from the pale green landscape.

His works take on an aesthetic array of geometry, playing with shapes and negative spaces.

Some pieces like “Sentrong Kosmos” take a collective narration of three pieces framed into one. Most of the artworks are done in ink and graphite on paper, where most of them have digitally-colored versions printed on archival papers and canvases.

“Mandirigma ng Tadhanda” II

Manix also recalled that one of the “unexpected paths” he took was making comics and storytelling his full-time career. —CONTRIBUTED

Artist’s reception is on Feb. 3, 4 p.m., at Galerie Stephanie’s new location at 4/F East Wing Shangri-la Plaza, Mandaluyong. E-mail inquiry.galeriestephanie@gmail.com.

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TAGS: Galerie Stephanie, Kikomachine Komix, mandirigmang kalawakan, Manix Abrera, Shangri-La Plaza, Solo Exhibit
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