“Lockdown,” a rubbercut by Neil Doloricon, is one of the artist’s last works. He died in July last year..
The exhibit opening held at Conrad Manila last week highlighted framed prints by artists like BenCab, Neil Doloricon and Elmer Borlongan, but it was not the first time for them to be displayed. It was originally exhibited at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) two years ago to celebrate the CCP’s 50th anniversary.
Nestor Jardin, former CCP president and now arts consultant of the hotel, said that they really planned to stage it also at Conrad Manila’s Gallery C but the pandemic put an indefinite halt to all social events.
That it was the hotel’s curtain-raiser for 2022 and its first in-person event since the March 2020 lockdown made it doubly noteworthy.
“Of Art and Wine” is Conrad Manila’s long-running art series and this time, it features the works of Association of Pinoyprintmakers (AP) in cooperation with the CCP. The exhibit is divided into two folios of fine prints made using traditional printmaking techniques by the masters and a younger group of artists.
Printmaker and former AP president Fil Delacruz told reporters at the event that printmaking is a different beast altogether.
“When you paint, you see the image as it is—it’s obvious. However, when you make a print, you have to use your imagination and creativity because you’ll only know if the effort is a success after you make the print,” Delacruz said. “That’s why not everyone can be a printmaker.”
His work makes use of mezzotint and engraving, with portions made using a special etching technique, combining both acid and nonacid intaglio processes in one print.
Also on display at Gallery C until April 2 are woodcut prints by Ambie Abaño and Borlongan; rubbercuts by Leonard Aguinaldo, Hershey Malinis, Manuel Ocampo, Jonathan Olazo, Suchin Teoh and the late Doloricon. It also includes a special restrike of a woodcut work by the late Rod. Paras-Perez dated 1963.
Jardin pointed out that the collection containing the print by Doloricon is especially poignant. “It was one of the artist’s last works as he died last July 2021,” he said.
Titled “Lockdown,” the print is a stark and haunting one of the pandemic and shows a shantytown where people with mouths and noses covered peer out of windows. Only their eyes are visible. Their homes are padlocked and a man armed with a machine gun stands guard outside.
Renan Ortiz and Radel Paredes created highly detailed drypoint prints. There are etchings by National Artist BenCab, Alfredo Juan Aquilizan, Virgilio Aviado, Joey Cobcobo, Janos Delacruz, Jesse Flores, Eugene Jarque, Henrielle Baltazar Pagkaliwangan, and the late Rhoda Recto. The etching of Juvenal Sansó is a restrike from a plate made by the artist in 1962. Also included are prints that combine both etching and aquatint, as seen in the works of Benjie Torrado Cabrera, Imelda Cajipe-Endaya, Yas Doctor, Raul Isidro, Villia Jefremovas, Angelo Magno, Caroline Ongpin and Anton Villaruel. Lenore RS Lim also makes use of the sugarlift process on top of etching and aquatint.
Collographs, on the other hand, can be created through the relief or intaglio process, as seen in Kristen Cain’s work for 20/30. The emboss method, which may be more familiar to many, is also a type of printmaking technique; however, unlike the rest, it does not require ink for an image to appear. The work of Christina Quisumbing Ramilo is an expertly done emboss based on an installation piece by the artist.
Serigraphy, possibly the most widely used among printing techniques, is a method of printing that uses a mesh over a stretched frame. 20/30 includes serigraph prints by Mars Bugaoan, Salvador Ching, Noell EL Farol, Rodolfo Samonte, Jun-Jun Sta. Ana and Wesley Valenzuela.
“The works of the AP exhibited here are not only inclusive of their artistry, but it tells so much of what other things they are doing,” said CCP artistic director Chris Millado. “The exhibit shows the different styles and techniques, as well as introduces the best Filipino print artists. The association trains next generations of printmakers, so that this artistic workmanship continues beyond, and in the next generations.”
Present at the opening were Elizabeth Sy, president, SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. (SMHCC); Peggy Angeles, executive vice president, SMHCC; Margie Moran Floirendo, chair, CCP; Arsenio Lizaso, president, CCP; Benjie Torrado Cabrera, president, AP; and Linda Pecoraro, general manager, Conrad Manila. INQ