Thursday, March 19, 2015

An exhibit of Mark Valenzuela’s and Pablo K. Capati III’s contemporary ceramics, Terraforming goes beyond its literal definition of earth-shaping to present the importance of the process of making ceramics and the way the artists use these works in order to re-create and re-examine the world around them.

Since terraforming is the process by which the earth is re-created (to the point of being habitable for humans) in order to transform a planet or a moon, the exhibition is a reflection of the artists’ physical and conceptual practice of re-forming the earth and re-creating their own worlds — beautiful, yes, but also full of conflict, confusion, and (in)humanity.

The exhibition invites its viewers to look at ceramics not as a beautiful object that has been shaped by ceramic traditions and age-old techniques, but as a platform by which the artists reveal something of themselves and the spaces they inhabit. For instance, Valenzuela explores cultural hegemony and the relationship between the individual and the collective by focusing on how the outsider “terraforms” his/her new environment.

This includes colonization as a form of “terraforming” and the process of mediating and preserving in transforming one’s environment. Capati, on the other hand, reiterates a deep connection with the earth and the elements. His biomorphic forms, which are unadorned and complex, infuses a sexual quality into his sculptural ceramics. Linking their projects is a collaborative work in which the egg becomes the basis of symbols from fertility to sensuality, from birth to death.

Pablo K. Capati III (b. 1975) took pottery classes in Kobe, Japan as a teenager, and in the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he took a Business degree. He became a full-time potter by 2003, and his practice is focused on the rigorous and demanding method of wood-firing pots and sculptures using an anagama or ‘cave’ kiln. Capati has exhibited locally and internationally (China, Thailand and Australia), and his works are under numerous private collections. He established the pottery studio at Art Informal in 2004, became part of the board of directors of Putik Association of Philippine Potters, and was the founder of Tropical Blaze, a biannual international wood-firing workshop (supported by the University of the Philippines) held at his studio in Batangas.

Mark Valenzuela (b. 1980) is an artist whose work combines paintings, drawings and ceramic sculptures and installations. His works have circulated in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region. Two of his solo exhibitions were shortlisted for the Ateneo Art Awards (2008 and 2012). He was also one of the ceramic artists chosen to develop the permanent collection for the FuLe International Ceramic Art Museums (FLICAM) in Fuping, China in 2012. He participated in Artstage Singapore 2013 and 2014, the 3rd Jakarta Contemporary Ceramic Biennale at the National Gallery of Indonesia, Earth and Fire at the Workhouse Arts Center, USA, and Asian Art in London 2014 with One East Asia. In 2013, Valenzuela cofounded Boxplot, a flexible arts project aimed at providing opportunities for collaboration between Australian and South East Asian artists.

For more information, please contact Vargas Museum at (63 2) 928-1927 (direct line), (63 2) 981-8500 loc. 4024 (UP trunkline) or e-mail to vargasmuseum@gmail.com.

Jorge B. Vargas Museum is located at University of the Philippines, Roxas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

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