See art in the city that captivates the senses and provokes emotions and thought
As the vibrant month of May unfolds, art enthusiasts are in for a treat with a range of exhibits that go beyond aesthetics. From unconventional plastic mediums and playful lowbrow pieces to art with an active cause, these exhibitions invite viewers to reflect, question, and engage with art on profound levels.
The boundaries of traditional art just keep getting broken, and they’re not slowing down in the Manila art scene. We’ve chronicled a list of must-see exhibits this May that will likely leave you inspired and transformed.
1. Mars Bugaoan, “Forever” at Artinformal Makati
Mars Bugaoan transforms the usual “white cube” of the gallery space into a colorful panorama, transmitting the experience of the view from sunrise to sunset. Bugaoan received the People’s Choice Award for his exhibit “Becoming” at the Ateneo Art Awards in 2018 and has continued to experiment with unconventional, often discarded materials as his medium. For the striking spectrum of colors in “Forever,” Bugaoan uses wires, bottle cap rings, and other plastics.
“Forever” at Artinformal Makati runs from April 26 to May 18, 2023
2. Mayeng (Mimaaaaaaaaw) and Angelica So, “Good Karma” at Space Encounters Gallery
In essence, good karma is the positive energy that returns to us when we selflessly perform acts of kindness for others. With this positive belief in mind, Mimaaaaaaaaw and Angelica So channel this attitude into their art that is whimsical, delightful, and reassuring.
An expert in the spontaneity of street art, Mimaaaaaaaaw infuses the canvas with playfully distorted cats that transform clichés into cheerful mantras. While Angelica So portrays bunnies with bulging red bubble-like eyes that move around the canvas with a fresh, bohemian spirit.
Both artists reinvent the fuzzy animals into pop art-esque and ironically lowbrow images, bringing back the lightness of childhood, and encouraging the positive forces of “Good Karma.”
“Good Karma” opened at Space Encounters Gallery on May 13, 2023.
3. Faye Pamintuan and Tammy De Roca, “Material for Spring“ at Vinyl on Vinyl
The images that come to mind at the mention of spring are usually consistent – perfect weather, fresh grass, and flowers. In the exhibition notes of Tammy De Roca and Faye Pamintuan’s two-woman exhibit, they convey these themes of Spring through letters, yet go beyond the surface.
One anonymous friend describes life as unhurried and ruminates about an unseeable Eternal Eden. The other responds, “I think about the sun and how it drenches my side of town a golden orange. I think about the moon and how it cloaks yours a silver blue. Isn’t it lovely how we are alive to feel the full breadth of rapture?”
Through De Roca’s textures in paint and Pamintuan’s ethereal abstractions, these reflections on spring and the greater world are easy to both see and feel in their explorations with pigment.
“Material for Spring” opened at Vinyl on Vinyl on May 13, 2023
4. Group exhibition curated by Vic Balanon, “A Slap in the Face of Public Taste” at Modeka Art
“A Slap in the Face of Public Taste” deconstructs the act of “producing an artwork” while connecting to the meaning of labor. It ties art to underlying cultural, political, and social factors, and seems to me like they might just be alluding to Marx’s theory of Historical Materialism.
The group exhibition features a range of provocative pieces by Filipino artists who all seem to share a renegade mindset, namely the Curator Vic Balanon as well as artists Argie Bandoy, Bud Omeng, Jed Escueta, Mike Crisostomo, Pol Mondok, Rico Entico, Robert Langenegger, Lourd De Veyra, Israel Remo, Erick Encinares and Crocogator.
“A Slap in the Face of Public Taste” opened at Modeka Art on May 13, 2023.
5. Cian Dayrit, “The Austere Enclave” at MONO8 Gallery
Cian Dayrit has had a background of challenging the system for many years through his art.
Through community-based research, Dayrit explores the natural landscapes affected by the exploitation done in plantations and large dams. “The Austere Enclave” makes statements on colonial history and points fingers at capitalists extorting the natural world and encroaching on forests. With the use of neon light to convey the messages in his artwork, Dayrit urges the public to take action.
“The Austere Enclave” runs at MONO8 from April 15 to May 15, 2023.