Sunday, July 13, 2014

Art+ Magazine and Power Plant Mall continue their Focus on the Arts: Art in Transit Festival at Power Plant Mall in Rockwell with an exhibition that features the best genre artists of this generation. Exhibiting works by major artists Angelito Antonio, Norma Belleza, the late Mario Parial, Michael Cacnio and Dominic Rubio, the exhibition, called Focus on Traditional Art, (Masters of Genre Art and Emerging Artists) is a captivating survey of an important variety of Philippine visual art.

The artworks will be depicting scenes of everyday life, an art form that has a long tradition in Philippine art history. From Damian Domingo to Fernando Amorsolo, rural landscapes of farmers, market vendors, urban street scenes, and other slice-of-life scenes sought to portray a romanticized view of Filipinos in everyday life. A new generation of genre artists have revised the public's perception of genre — and in the process, have gained critical and commercial acclaim for their respective practices. Although using different media, techniques, and aesthetic philosophies, they are united by their iconoclastic vision of genre and its place in today's art scene.

The exhibition's major artists are known for their ability to re-think the essence of genre. Angelito Antonio has an art career that spans almost half a century. Studying visual art at University of Santo Tomas, Antonio was colleagues with National Artist AngKiukok, Antonio Austria, Danilo Dalena, Mario Parial, Jaime De Guzman and Norma Belleza. His teachers at UST included National Artist Vicente Manansala and GaloOcampo. The artist has more than 20 local and international awards to his name. Some of his awards include the Grand Prize (1965) and 3rd Prize (1963) of the AAP’s annual art competition, and 2nd Prize at the Shell Art Awards (1962). Already an immense figure in the history of Philippine visual art, Angelito Antonio’s practice continues to develop and change — while Antonio’s earlier works were more defined and boxed-in, his later works see him moving towards abstraction, employing a mix of abstract elements and figurative concepts. In this sense, Antonio has become one of the last pillars of Modernism, adhering to Modernism’s core tenets of dynamic expression.

Mais Vendor by Angelito Antonio

Over four decades of experience as one of the foremost genre painters has enabled the late Mario Parial to demonstrate a balance of technique and vision that remains unparalleled in the art scene. The fantasy worlds of color and life that he brought out in his paintings have made him one of the most respected artists in the country. With dozens of one-man shows to his name, including exhibitions in the US, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore, the University of Santo Tomas-trained Parial was recognized with multiple awards. Parial is one of the earliest winners of the Thirteen Artists Award of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, winning it in 1972. While still a student, he already won first prize in the 1966 Art Association of the Philippines art competition for his work 'Flight in the Sun.'

Michael Cacnio, on the other hand, is one the foremost sculptors in the country today. Having had over 50 solo exhibitions in the US, Europe, and Asia, Cacnio’s candid depictions of tableaux scenes of Philippine genre has been noted by critics as representing the best of genre in sculptural form. The artist has achieved a fair measure of awards in his 26 years of sculpture, including the 2006 Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM). A product of the College of Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines, Michael Cacnio is also the first — and so far only — Filipino artist to exhibit at the Berlaymont in Brussels. The appeal of Cacnio is in his ability to skilfully capture the Filipino way of life. Cacnio is highly sought-after for his genre sculptures of brass and glass. The artist takes a wistful image of bygone time and asks his audience to reminisce about the idyllic life of the rural past. His work is stunning, with figurations in poses that capture both motion and fluidity.

Fish Vendor by Michael Cacnio

Renowned painter Dominic Rubio has participated in several exhibitions in and around the region, including shows in New York, Hong Kong and Singapore. Rubio’s signature aesthetic technique of elongating the necks of figures from the Philippine colonial period has made him a critically acclaimed artist and a staple of international auction houses. A graduate of the Fine Arts program of the University of Santo Tomas, Rubio is one of the most celebrated visual artists today — with no less than art critic Cid Reyes to comment: “Arresting is the punctilious application of pigment and the delineation of the figures... technically adept, Rubio displays impressive workmanship.” In Rubio’s practice, the nostalgia is brought forth in his treatment of the subjects and the colonial contexts he places them in. Rubio’s consideration of the theme is in the tinges he brings in his details. A brilliant character painter, his subjects are of a historical leaning and therefore wear the details of their historical time-period — costumes, equipment, and hawker-stands all conform to an idyllic re-imagining of the past.

Nagsisiga by Dominic Rubio

Joining these major artists are young emerging artists currently making waves for their own contemporary style at genre art. These are Francis Nacion, Glenn Cagandahan, Jovan Benito, Richard Arimado and Aljo Pingol.

Harvesting Rice by Francis Nacion

Kalesa by Glenn Cagandahan

Glance by Jeff Cablog

Flower Maidens by Lydia Velasco

Cartimar Market by Richard Arimado

With these highly representative crop of masters and young artists, the exhibition at the Power Plant Mall is a great way for the public to become acquainted with the latest directions in genre art.

Focus on Traditional Art, (Masters of Genre Art and Emerging Artists) is part of the Focus on the Arts: Art in Transit Festival at Rockwell's Power Plant Mall. The exhibition will be displayed at the Mall's North Court from July 14 to 20, 2014.

For more information, please call (632) 723-9418 or email info@artplus.ph.

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