The cold love of cities in the paintings of Iza Caparas
The recent monsoon flooding of Metro Manila allows us to ponder on the palpable irony of a highly advanced metropolis not exactly inured from the elements. There is some link about our experience of crisis and our critical thought that needs to be articulated.
Iza Caparas’ latest exhibit at Art Center in Megamall can be the very opportunity and space for brooding on this connection—how we reckon with city living; how we deal with our alienation with it; our feeling of its coldness brought about not just by the weather condition, but a coldness that flows through the core of our frail existence.
Caparas’ “Love in the City” series becomes a fitting gesture for all these things, that somewhere between tragedy and agony, or danger and injury, one gets a glimpse of the potent and enigmatic force we ordinarily call love.
She depicts the emptiness or coldness of cities, their indifference. In “City” 3 and 6, she gives us a view of buildings without people, amid grave gray hues or under a crimson moon.
Here a sepulchral silence envelopes the city, a city that has been abandoned momentarily by people, either because they may be away in some strange lands working or that they have retired to sleep, quite disconnected and oblivious to the world outside.
Caparas depicts the coldness of day-to-day living, the city’s tedium, its rhythmic noise that punctuates time, its intensity and speed by which everyone is rendered invisible.
They say that the end of the Marcoses’ tyrannical rule coincided with the completion of the light-railway system, that when people started riding the trains they were afforded with a vision of this enormous landscape of poverty in Manila, a vision that grates internally, a coldness that surges inward as if ready to explode at any moment.
Caparas captures this coldness and bitterness particularly in the rainy scenes of “City” 1, 2 and 5. The rains bring with it the coldness of isolation, the moment of resentment, when things are suddenly halted, become static, yet somehow without being totally liquidating, one grasps a moment of affirmation, a desire to return, a fervent longing to begin again.
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