As schoolchildren, we often sketched an idealized depiction of country life with square houses with thatched roofs surrounded by a rice field and several coconut trees. The sun was always shining or peeking behind perfectly placed mountains, and the family unit consisted of mom, dad and kids.
There’s a sense of that uncanny perfection in the oil paintings of three San Mateo-based artists featured in the ongoing ARTablado group exhibit at Robinsons Antipolo (upper ground floor, main mall).
Eliezer Dimaculangan, Gabz Mendiola and Joel Janer have been painting for years, participating in numerous group shows as well as having the spotlight trained on them in their respective solo shows.
Dimaculangan is a visual artist specializing in landscape paintings and is partial to a vibrant palette with a touch of the abstract. His paintings are a mix of the natural and the manmade—mountains, oceans and waterfalls, white doves and playful fish but also ancient stone archways, mossy stairs and glazed earthenware jugs.
Unlike Dimaculangan, Gabriel “Gabz” Mendiola prefers muted colors when he paints. A former ceramic artist and businessman, he returned to his first love, painting. Mendiola has since joined a number of group shows organized by the San Mateo Artists Guild where he got to meet art patrons and supporters.
His paintings share a distinct provincial vibe and often feature female protagonists: women washing clothes in a stream, and a couple of Madonna and Child paintings. Mendiola is open to experimenting as seen in the mother and child pieces where one pair is painted in a two-dimensional style while a second is more realistic and shows a young mother carrying a sleeping toddler who nuzzles serenely against her neck.
Joel Janer’s canvases are also light-filled and breezy but vastly different from his childhood spent in polluted and congested Metro Manila. His decision to focus on barrio life—a man astride a carabao with his wife and child walking a few meters ahead, rolling hills seen from a distance with texture provided by tiny bumps of paint—is perhaps a reaction to that upbringing.
Janer discovered his passion for the visual arts in a parish art workshop in Marikina, and has continued pursuing it to this day. His other pieces include vibrantly colored orchids on a wooden platter as well as a stylized vision of sword-shaped leaves.
“Visions of Sereni3: Dimaculangan x Janer x Mendiola” was curated “to convey a sense of nostalgic tranquility” with the three artists drawing inspiration from their own experiences and their reflections of their hometown. The exhibit will run until October 15.
Established in 2020, Robinsons Land ARTablado, a portmanteau of “art” and “entablado” is Robinsons Land’s very own stage in showcasing the Filipino ingenuity and creativity. This platform allows emerging and established artists to freely express themselves through art and paves the way to greater recognition of their talent and hard work. To date, ARTablado has mounted numerous exhibitions and hosted over 400 artists.