Saturday, September 27, 2014

On the heels of her well-received first solo exhibition at Ayala Museum’s ArtistSpace, Heart Evangelista continues her career as a visual artist with a follow up exhibition that demonstrates the evolution of her unique aesthetic.

Saying that Heart Evangelista is well known is an understatement — her face is on billboards throughout the country as one of the most recognizable artistas in the Philippines. But above all the movies, television appearances, and tabloid fodder rises someone with the true soul of an artist. Heart uses her visual art practice to assert an identity. “I started painting because, you know with acting there’s just a limit sometimes,” she says. “If you don’t get the roles you want, you really can’t express how you feel. But when I started painting again, I felt like I had total freedom. Nobody told me what to do, nobody yelled “cut!” or “action!” It was therapy for me.”

Heart Evangelista actually started painting at a young age, taking workshops at Ayala Museum when she was only a child. And although painting later took a backseat to a successful career as a pop star, it was something that the artist had always meant to come back to. And it was the love of her life, the reason for her estrangement with her parents, who proved to be the catalyst for a deeper interest in art. “I started with a very small painting after fighting with my parents. And my fiancee Chiz [Senator Chiz Escudero] said, you’re spending so much time on that small painting, why don’t I just get you a big canvas? So he has a niece who made me a huge canvas, and I woke up one day and I had a huge canvas. And I painted my first big painting, and after that I was just addicted to it. There was this high of achievement that I couldn’t understand. It was priceless. Then after that, I just started to paint everyday. I don’t want to work anymore, I don’t want to be an artista anymore. I joke sometimes, when I threaten to quit.”

In this sense, it’s understandable that she signs her paintings, “LM,” from her given name, Love Marie Ongpauco. It is because she sees in her art a more sincere side. But painting again also brought a certain amount of insecurity, particularly because of her perceived lack of technical skill. “I would never get a chance to paint on big canvases though because I was afraid,” she explains. “Because I was always concentrating on the face, and I was afraid I couldn’t fill up the rest of the canvas. I guess it had something to do with being sheltered. I think it’s a psychological thing. I’ve never been adventurous about anything. Even up to today, when I’m in a different country, I’m afraid to go to the bathroom myself. I feel like I’d get kidnapped or something. So I guess it spilled over to my paintings. I was afraid to do big paintings.”

She got over it, of course, and found an aesthetic style that can be described as a cross between art nouveau and symbolism — echoing Vienna Secessionist Gustav Klimt. But the connection was merely coincidental: “I didn’t know Klimt was so similar to mine! So I’m afraid that I’ve subconsciously picked up patterns and then people will say I’m just copying him!” There is also a strain of expressionism in her works, no doubt due to her more explicit influences: Paul Klee, Frieda Kahlo, and locally Juvenal Sanso. The artist is more philosophical, though, when she explains how she chooses her subjects: “Sometimes, it’s just what comes to my mind. I really can’t explain it. I just started this new painting, and it just flows.”

Her latest exhibition at Galerie Joaquin shows the progression of her work. Her latest paintings reveal the resolve of an artist out to leave her mark on the art community. It is a thoroughly unique exhibition that will undoubtedly cement her career as a visual artist.

For more information, please call (63 2) 723-9418, or email

Galerie Joaquin is located at 371 P. Guevarra St., cor. Montessori Lane, Addition Hills, San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

You Might Also Like