Filipino artist Marissa Quirino Gonzalez, who is based in Switzerland, is back with her latest show “Under the Mediterranean Skies,” a new set of works on jusi or Philippine silk, her favored canvas. The show will open on Jan. 29 at the ArtistSpace of the Ayala Museum, and will run until Feb. 11.
During her last show in Manila in 2013, Gonzalez exhibited paintings of cloisters, abbeys and courtyards in “The Road to Silence.”
The artist’s keen eye for architecture is apparent in the paintings of doors and courtyards in North Africa, vineyards in France, villages in Italy and Spain, and Portuguese interiors.
Spain is featured in paintings of a flamenco dancer, a matador and her friend Bianca wearing her manton de Manila.
The collection is inspired by memories of holidays and sunshine, and the discovery of other lands and cultures through travel. For the artist, travel is the culmination of her many interests—discovering new places and cuisines, and painting new images and locales.
Because she works on relatively flimsy jusi, it is difficult for Gonzalez to paint en plein air. She prefers to work from photographs, painting while sitting on the floor so that the paint will not drip and ruin the painting.
The artist is a grandchild of former President Elpidio R. Quirino, rebuilder of the Philippine republic after the destruction of World War II. “I was only 2 years old when my grandfather died, so what I know of him is only what I have been told,” says Gonzalez. One of her favorite stories is the one where the young Elpidio, as a working student, would paint on the butterfly sleeves of the ladies’ ternos.
Gonzalez also believes that her love for painting on silk comes from her Chinese ancestral roots, being a sixth generation SyQuia, the well-known Vigan clan whose scion Alicia married the young Elpidio.
“The family is celebrating this year the 125th birth anniversary of Lolo Elpidio, and I want this show to be my humble contribution to honoring his memory,” says Gonzalez.
After previous solo exhibitions in Geneva, New York, and Helsinki, and her participation in collective shows in Chicago and different places in France, this is the artist’s ninth solo show.