Marrie Saplad's serene still-lifes grace a Venetian exhibit

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Marrie Saplad
Artist Marrie Saplad | Photo by JT Fernandez

Filipina artist Marrie Saplad presents art that invites viewers to find beauty in everyday objects



As the annual Venice Biennale approaches, cultural spaces in The Floating City eagerly anticipate the influx of artistic voices from around the world.

Independent from the Venice Biennale but running concurrently, there will be a special showcase of Filipino artistic talent, with a selection of works curated at the Palazzo Mora. 

Collaborating with the European Cultural Centre Italy, Filipino artists represented by DF Art Agency under Derek Flores will contribute a range of works to the event via the exhibit “Textures and Interstices.” The exhibit will explore the diverse range of experiences by Filipino artists in the context of their country. 

Exhibiting artists include Alfredo Esquillo, Anna Bautista, Cedrick Dela Paz, Demi Padua, Dino Gabito, Isko Andrade, Manny Garibay, Mark Andy Garcia, Marrie Saplad, Max Balatbat, Raffy Napay, and Pongbayog.

READ MORE: Dino Gabito debuts new direction of ‘Shroud Series’ in Venice

Marrie Saplad
Photo by JT Fernandez

For the exhibit, Filipina artist Marrie Saplad (b. 1984) will contribute an atmosphere of serenity through her tranquil still-life compositions.

Drawing from her daily surroundings and experiences as a mother, Saplad elevates ordinary objects with a sense of the ethereal while encouraging viewers to contemplate the clean compositions.

“’Yung mga gawa ko usually kung ano lang na nakikita sa bahay. Kasi full-time mother ako so wala akong katulong sa bahay. Nakikita ko ’yung mga bagay na andyan sa palibot… Mga glass (’yung una ko ’yun), tapos ’yung tea bags… Nakaka-elevate ng mood, nakaka-lift ng spirit, pag nagkikita ng light. Sa paint gumagaan ’yung loob, gumagaan ’yung pakiramdam, so gumagaan din ’yung mga pakitungo sa environment.”

Marrie Saplad
An earlier work of Marrie Saplad in the two-man exhibition “Vessel” at Ysobel Art Gallery | Photo from Ysobel Art Gallery

Saplad turns the mundane into the magical through her minimalist style, characterized by subdued colors and simple compositions. Through her nuanced understanding of shadows and light, she emphasizes the beauty of simplicity and encourages appreciation of the ordinary. “Paghahalimbawa, kung every day pagod ka, tas nakikita mo ’yung painting, nag-re-relax ’yung feeling mo.” 


“Sa paint gumagaan ’yung loob, gumagaan ’yung pakiramdam, so gumagaan din ’yung mga pakitungo sa environment.”


The artist employs the alla prima, or wet-on-wet technique, guided by the mentorship of her husband Pongbayog, to capture the transparent qualities of glass like in her earlier work as well as the delicate interplay of light in her more recent pieces. “Na-inspire ako sa glass kasi ’yung transparency parang sa character ng mga tao—’yung pagiging transparent.”

Marrie Saplad
Marrie Saplad’s work for the 2024 “Personal Structures” exhibit. “Lost in Silence” oil on canvas, 60 x 48 in. 2024 | Photo courtesy of Marrie Saplad

Saplad elevates one of the subjects in her more recent series, the ordinary tea bag.

Saplad recounts drawing inspiration from a peaceful moment in the early morning. “Nakakaisip ako ng idea habang nag-tsa-tsaa, kasi mahilig kami ng kape or tsaa. That time, chai ’yung napili ko. Tas nung sumikat na ang araw, nakita ko ang light at ang ganda ng bagsak ng shadow. And I thought, ‘Why not ganun na lang ’yung gawin ko?”

Saplad’s work seems to strike a chord similar to Mircea Eliade’s book “The Sacred and the Profane,” as she applies a sense of ritual to her home life. As she slows down to contemplate, she finds tranquility in a cup of tea—a sense of the sacred not confined to institutions or heavy texts but in personal experience, transposed into a lightly-colored painting.

The vernissage will take place on Apr. 18 and 19, 2024 at Salon 219 in the Palazzo Mora in Venice, Italy. Public opening will start on Apr. 20, 2024 until Nov. 24, 2024.


Special thanks to Derek Flores and Portia Placino.

Photography by JT Fernandez

Video by Mikey Yabut and Claire Salonga

Production assistance by Martin Agustin

Produced by Ria Prieto

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.