Monday, August 25, 2014

Liv Vinluan, Paulo Vinluan and Nicole Sy Coson hold simultaneous shows, which are on view until August 30, 2014 at Finale Art File, Warehouse 17, La Fuerza, 2241 Chino Roces Ave., Makati City.

At the Tall Gallery, Liv Vinluan depicts the boat as a compelling symbol of loss, change and survival in “The Savage Sea.”

In the beginning of the production for this show I had started to look into maritime, nautical vessels. Particularly struck with the idea of the vessel, an image of a singular desolate boat, buoyant and bobbing up and down on undulating waters appeared starkly in my head.

A vessel, by definition, may be a ship or a boat, a means of transport to bring often precious cargo from one place to another. It may as well mean a vein, the artery of an organ — particularly the heart — carrying blood throughout different parts of the human body so that it may live. Lastly, it can be a hollow, enclosed container, able to hold liquids. Much like a carafe holding red wine, much like veins carrying blood.

The vessel can be filled until maybe, it reaches its capacity, and so then it can be sent off from the harbor, just as how a teacher would send off their wards once they believe they have had their fill of wisdom.

The Savage Sea tells stories of the vessel, and its metaphorical contents as a body floating on what is essentially, another body — water — deep and tempestuous and unpredictable. In the painting The Swells, we see a picture crammed full of swells of ultramarine blue. Here and there, flotsam and jetsam bob in the folds of blue, discarded and maybe forgotten. Smoke billows, an indication of the remains of what was burnt and lost. As it moves up, joins and disseminates into the wind it also carries with it the memory of something which once was buoyant and afloat. The circular composition of oceans in the diptych The Savage Sea is a nod to the round earth and its waters so captivated and oft navigated by its curious terrestrial tenants. Its composition too, is a nod to the possibility of the non-linearity of chronology. A panorama of rolling waves, The Undulating Sea is witness to limbs and tree trunks thrashing about. Three-paneled and divided, it is broken up into parts while still forming a coherent whole. Our line of vision moves from left to right, or from right to left, and we are met with a horizon of competing, layered blues, crashing about, rolling in.

For all its varied definitions it all seems to convey, in the end, the same thing: the vessel transports, carries and brings from one place to another. It moves, travels and traverses. It voyages, and it must work and navigate with the sea, and its fulfilled, successful crossing depends on the state of what it carries — that it still may be whole and intact when it reaches its destination. Fragmented, patched and fissured maybe, but still whole. — Liv Romualdez Vinluan

At the Video Room, Paulo Vinluan creates complex configurations using three main forms — the human figure, the sphere and the cube — and in the process unpacks a repertoire of references and stories related to them in “Block: New Paintings.”

Paulo Vinluan examines the visual image as a form of both transit and narrative in this suite of new paintings in acrylic on canvas.

Vinluan is interested in fluid nature and process of image-making, which can span several forms such as drawing to film animation to painting. The series is in fact a progression from an earlier piece: a video installation, titled Block, exhibited in Finale from December to January 2013. Produced through hand-drawn animation, Block portrayed a character constantly trying to shape a spherical object into a cube, spanning various references such as the mythological narrative of Sisyphus repeatedly rolling a boulder up a mountain to the the study of movement within a pinball machine game. The narrative and storyline revolves around these acts of shifting back and forth, in a constant attempt to reconfigure both object and space.

Vinluan also shares a biographical aspect to all of these little acts of reconfiguring, finding parallels between this process and his peregrine act of travelling back and forth between his residence in Brooklyn, US and his studio practice in Manila, Philippines. Constantly in transit between both locations, Vinluan re-evaluates and considers home as also a shifting state of being, not just a fixed cartographic point or a exclusively physical space.

Now capturing and unpacking the images in the animation through the media of painting, Vinluan draws out connections between the visual image and narrative sequence. Comprised of complex configurations based on three main forms — the human figure, the sphere and cube — the paintings combine surface, structure and story to capture this sense of continuous motion and transition.

At the Upstairs Gallery, Nicole Sy Coson presents small monotype prints with forms that straddle the line between abstraction and reality.

In this exhibition of monotype prints, Nicole Sy Coson explores the fine lines dividing representations of reality and the intangible flux of perceptions. Moving away from the precise outlines of classical portraiture, Coson’s series of “spirit captures” revolve around the act of visualising traces of what she likens to a “ghost, an enigma, or a loose and ever changing form that cannot be grasped yet it invades our tactile and physical world”.

Flux and motion are tangible presences in Coson’s images: suggesting movement and shifts of vision. Otherwise recognisable images are refracted and distorted, intentionally left unread and undeciphered. Leaving the viewer with a sense of unsettled nervousness, these alien beings are transient, fleeting presences, like birds caught in mid-flight or cloud formations that conjure various images. By drawing attention to the subjective process of seeing, Coson engages in small acts of introspection into the very nature of representation.

Nicole Sy Coson poses in front of her “kinetic” monotype prints. Photo courtesy of Kimberly dela Cruz.

For details, call 813-2310, email or visit

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