Start the year walking into these art exhibits in Manila that cover a range of themes, mediums, and experiences.
After the mix of revelry and relaxation during the end-of-the-year holidays, we are beginning to roll into our new 2024 routines. For collectors, fellow artists, art enthusiasts, or even wanderers looking to add to their weekend itinerary, these art spaces in Manila are thriving with new exhibits to see.
Drop by the Chino Roces Ave. route and check out the placid landscapes of Victoria Montinola in The Drawing Room. Afterward, stand in awe in front of the monumental, 15 ft.-high artwork of Ayka Go. Then, end the night walking down memory lane at Archivo 1984. You can also go further south to explore more conceptual pieces with Mervy Pueblo’s modern interpretation of the OFWs. Or check out the Xavier Art Fest for a sure, affordable artwork buy, with proceeds going to a cause.
Regardless of what theme you want to start the year on, there is something for every taste running through galleries and museums throughout the city.
1. Ayka Go, Play House at Finale Art File
Undeniably an art world favorite, Ayka Go is renowned for her trompe l’oeil paintings that explore the subject of paper. Transforming paper from a medium to a subject, she goes beyond materiality to explore deeper meanings. Much of her work revolves around memories.
This latest exhibition Play House expands on her chosen subject but on a monumental scale. This includes Doll House, a magnificent 15 x 20 ft. oil on canvas diptych. This imposing work contrasts miniature structures of homey living room furniture in folded, cut, and glued paper—tiny, old-school TVs, shelves, and dressers.
Connecting the works in a variety of mediums, the exhibition reflects the artist’s meditations on her artistic journey, “with a particular focus on the dollhouse as a metaphor for memory” (John Alexis Balaguer).
Play House runs from January 12 to February 5, 2024, at Finale Art File, Warehouse 17, La Fuerza, 2241 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.
2. Victoria Montinola, Promised Land at The Drawing Room
Lining the brightly-lit hallway of The Drawing Room, Victoria Montinola’s most recent exhibition “Promised Land” explores the meaning of the term
It references the biblical meaning of the land of “milk and honey.” Her landscapes point to the promised land as a metaphor for dreams, while also acknowledging land can be pushed to become a space for warfare and territorial dispute.
She continues her artistic practice of lush landscape paintings. While in the past, her work was characterized by a contrasting layer of vibrant lines and strange shapes, much of her new works pose a more neutral landscape of pastoral scenes.
The dozen or so paintings in the show are named after the months of the year, echoing the essence of each season within the frame.
Promised Land runs from January 13 to February 10, 2024, at The Drawing Room, Ground Floor, Building C, Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Barangay Magallanes, Makati City.
3. Archival Exhibition, The @90skabaklaan Show at Archivo 1984
@90skabaklaan has grown astronomically on Instagram for its spunky, Y2K content and hilarious vintage memes. Since the account has transformed into a cultural phenomenon, it marks a milestone with an archival exhibition at Archivo 1984.
The exhibit features rare film posters like the dream-like “Johnny Tiñoso and the Proud Beauty” or the camp “Guwapings.” The posters are displayed among archival books and the gallery’s collection of paintings, a range of moving images, vinyl records, CDs of iconic 90s girl and guy groups, as well as bold-themed playing cards.
As visitors explore the objects and take a nostalgic trip down memory lane, the closing night of the exhibit on January 25, 2024 promises to be a memorable affair with a DJ set combining elements of visual arts, music, and cultural nostalgia.
The @90skabaklaan Show runs from January 13 to January 25, 2024, at Archivo 1984, Pasillo 18, La Fuerza Compound 1 2241 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.
4. Norberto “Lito” Carating, High Anxiety at Galerie Hans Brumann
After a prolonged hiatus, Norberto “Lito” Carating opens his first solo exhibition of the year at Galerie Hans Brumann. The exhibition title “High Anxiety” refers to the past few years that were filled with “Calamities, outbreaks, and conflicts… Or perhaps a new sense of hope that things would be better?” art writer Lito Zulueta reflects.
In this latest show, Carating focuses highly on textures, creating meditative tactile sensations as he layers acrylic paint with pumice gel. There is a sense of fortitude and silence in the finished abstractions that use simple lines filing negative space and undulating colors. The artist draws influence from Luminism, Impressionism, and Cubism, reducing representation pieces to the fundamental basics.
Carating is an artist celebrated for over 40 years of work, who has exhibited worldwide in China, Cuba, the US, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, and Singapore, while also a recipient of the prestigious Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists Award.
High Anxiety runs from January 6 to February 29, 2024, at Galerie Hans Brumann, Legaspi Parkview Condominium, 134 Legaspi St. cor. C. Palanca, Legaspi Village, Makati City.
5. Xiam Lim, Daffodils and Dandelions at Art Cube
Apart from a career as an actor and director, Alexander “Xian” Lim has extended his cinematic talents on the screen and onto canvas. In the past, Lim has exhibited at art fairs as well as Secret Fresh Gallery and a Pinto Art Museum with “Promises of Tomorrow.”
Lim continues creating surreal figures that verge on other realms of reality. He paints forms of multi-colored flora and fauna, with bizarre imagery now more obscure than ever before.
Daffodils and Dandelions runs from January 13 to February 3, 2024 at Art Cube, Unit 104 G/F Building 3, OPVI Centre, 2295 Chino Roces Ave, Makati City.
6. Annie Cabigting, When we look at art… curated by Nilo Ilarde at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (The M)
“This relationship that people have with art–how they behave around it, how they experience it, how they look at it, and, most importantly, how they look when they look at it–has occupied a space in Annie Cabigting’s mind throughout her career” (The M).
In this several months-long exhibition at the M, the collection combines Cabigting’s previous works from galleries and private collectors. Cabigting is renowned for her photorealistic paintings that depict visitors looking at masterpieces in museum spaces. As she recreates these vignettes, she creates a meta-sensation, pushing observers of the observers to become self-aware, and creating reflections on our experience of art and how we see it.
When we look at art… runs from November 22, 2023, to April 13, 2024, at the Groundspace and 2/F Galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila on 30th St, Taguig City.
7. Mervy Pueblo, Karakoa Journey: From Past to Present at Galleria Duemila
With an MFA in Visual Studies from the Minneapolis College of Arts and Design in the USA, where she also earned MA units in Art Education, Pueblo has previously showcased similar work in this exhibition at the Nakanojo Museum of Folk and History in Japan.
Mervy Pueblo reimagines the OFWs as “Karakoa warriors” venturing into uncharted territories in a search to find better opportunities for family and community. Through an empathic lens on migrant labor, she creatively interprets the pre-colonial spirit with reflections on social, political, and feminist themes.
Karakoa Journey: From Past to Present runs from December 2, 2023, to January 31, 2024, at Galleria Duemila, 210 Loring, Street, Pasay City.
8. Multiple exhibitors, Xavier Art Fest at Xavier School
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The much-awaited annual art show at Xavier School is fast approaching. Organized by the Xavier School Alumni Association and Art Department at the quadrangle and sports center of the boys’ school, the event strives to make art accessible with a steadily diversifying selection of artworks, while donating to charitable causes.
From paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, and even digital works, this year’s exhibition will continue to promote a space for galleries, both major players and emerging spaces.
The fair will offer an array of food and drinks to enjoy. Some special events include an acrylic painting workshop on January 27, Saturday, and a live auction throughout the weekend.
The Xavier Arts Fest runs from January 26 to 28, 2024 at at Xavier School, 64 Xavier Street, Greenhills San Juan City.