When asked to label his work, artist Arvin Narvaez drew a blank. And rightly so.
He explains how he is in the constant throes of exploration, thus unable to compartmentalize his work. “I am trying to explore and learn further by being more aware through the process of creating, hoping to arrive and discover uncharted grounds.”
From making ink-and-pencil pieces that detail linear formations with depth and illusion, Narvaez is shifting to abstracts in acrylic. The reasons behind it are restlessness and visual curiosity.
“I was breaking the notion that artists are encouraged to repeat and are discouraged to explore. And art for me is about discovering and arriving at a certain visual representation, a continuous evolution of processes, as well as learning and developing ideas which then lead to a cycle of change — yet still encapsulate the very nature of being human.”
Robinsons Land ARTablado presents Narvaez’s “Continuum,” on view until June 30 at the ARTablado space, third floor of Robinsons Galleria. The show features pieces that chronicle the artist’s constant searches and questions.
“In the first years of creating and with a powerful creative drive, it often led to wanting to explore further. I started with what was there and then the journey unfolded. It was a natural process when discovering other materials that imply the other aspects of a visual language, which I was trying to express, communicate, and arrive at. It is still an ongoing process.”
Inspired by De Stijl, Jaap Wagemaker, Mark Rothko, Jose Joya and Gus Albor, the artist’s goal was to “break the fear of stepping into unfamiliar grounds, to further seek, and to give meaning with this life, with what I do — with the acceptance of belief and discarding of doubts.”
He adds that upon further exploration and experimentation, his creative process resulted in pieces that are minimalist.
Narvaez gives the reason behind the word “continuum” as title for his show.
“(The suite of paintings is) a mix of visual representations from recent styles, a merging of approaches leading to minimalist pieces. They directly represent the time frame and stories of the works. They deal with the realizations and learning that went throughout the entire process of creating the series.”
An artist in constant exploration and redefinition of his or her body of work is not something encouraged by a typical gallery; Robinsons Land ARTablado, though, has become a fertile ground for artistic exploration, offering artists from all walks of life the freedom to be expressively authentic. The people behind Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) believe in the ingenuity and artistry of Filipino artists. RLC has allocated spaces in Robinsons Galleria and Robinsons Antipolo to hold exhibitions for art practitioners who deserve to showcase their artistic vision, talent, and thirst for exploration.
ARTablado’s impact has been instantaneous for members of the art community who have been pining for a platform where every artist — young or old, established or up-and-coming — is welcome.
“It was a surprise at first (to be given space by ARTablado),” he shares. He was not even aware that the person he was speaking with was Roseann Villegas, one of the prime movers of the ARTablado art initiative of RLC.
For the artist, it was a case of “what you seek is actually seeking you.” He adds, “This saying truly works in such mysterious and wonderful ways.”
And the visitors to Arvin Narvaez’s “Continuum” will quickly discover the many mysterious and wonderful emotions that can be evoked by mixed media gestures on canvas — as the visions of the horizons and awareness are given form.