JO invite Pablo show

The irresistible forces of failure and the fear of bad luck are turned into paintings that are dumb at first glance but brilliant the more we keep looking. For instance, an anime-style painting of a male head with a huge erection for a hand, superimposed with varied patches of color suggesting a variety of vaginas, may demonstrate the difference between figuration (the phallus) and abstraction (the pussies).

Figuration gives us recognizable elements and signs that we can decode, while abstraction turns its back on us and blocks our view to prevent interpretation and resist narrative. Paradoxically, abstraction annihilates illusions and obliterates distractions, while figuration can mystify and delude. We can observe the hostility and intercourse between figuration and abstraction in the painting of a skunk giving a pink flower to a crocodile wearing a red painter’s hat and snacking on a fishbone. The crocodile rolls its eyes and looks jaded and world-weary, while the skunk seems hopeful and giddy, naive and oblivious of the crocodile’s disdain. A yellow butterfly flutters behind the crocodile. Below, a rat in blue shorts and leather shoes, hands in pockets looking bored and burned-out, is turned towards a little chick looking away in dismay, wearing similar leather shoes but is otherwise naked. An awkward tension seems to exist between the two but exactly what is happening cannot be determined since the image is upside down and painted over with various shapes of different colors, almost completely obstructing our view of the scene. What is clear is the text that reads, “Since I gave up hope I feel much better.”

The shallow and the deep are both apparent on the surface of the paintings. The picture of a monkey with hair shaved on parts of its body and pubic area, holding up an impossible triangle constructed out of poo, is evocative of Homo erectus’ discovery of fire – a turning point in human evolution. But the triangular turd is a discovery that we don’t know what to make of, whether it is useless or valuable. Though the act is a great leap in thought and imagination, it leaves us and the monkey none the wiser.

In another, cartoon-like picture, a naked woman holding a giant pair of scissors waiting for the peeper to poke his pecker through the peephole on a fence may be seen as a comment on the act of looking at art, and brings to mind Marcel Duchamp’s final opus, Étant donnés (roughly translated as Given). In this case, the naked female body is on the same side as the onlooker and instead of a gas lamp in her hand illuminating the way, she holds a pair of scissors that threaten to put the light out of the candle shining and towering on the other side, which she does not see.

As we can see, these paintings are devoted to the traditions of modern art and make use of familiar avant-garde elements such as the grid, the maze, and the brick wall. The grid is found in several of the paintings such as one that plays with surrealism where a hand crushes a beer can as if in triumph, muscles flexing and biceps bulging. Pine trees grow on the biceps, which could also be seen as a hill. Hovering above is an eyeball that could also be a full moon. In the center is an owl made of shells and below is a hospital urinal for patients who find it impossible to get out of bed. The images get out of the grid and do not stay behind the lines.

While multiple layers are commonly piled on the surface, the pictures go against complexity. One painting is initially of a classic motivational poster of a small kitten hanging on to a tree branch coupled with the catchphrase, “Hang in there baby.” This popular relic of the 1970s is used as the underpainting, layered over and almost completely obscured by an image of two prisoners hanging in chains wearing only tattered shorts. The prisoner on the right of the kitten seems horny and amused as he inserts his free foot down the pants of his companion, while the other guy is stunned and looks away, yet also somehow pleased to be preoccupied. His legs are splayed and he feels the pleasure yet feels embarrassed that he is pleasured. The naughty one doing the footsie is clean-looking and looks like a newbie prisoner, while the helpless guy being stimulated has overgrown facial hair and a bloated belly, and appears to have been hanging there for a while. This image is further painted over with an enlarged version of a shrunken head, a novelty item inspired by the headhunting Jivaro tribe of South America, famous for their practice of shrinking and preserving human heads taken in battle as a trophy. The hunted heads are shrunk to the size of a large orange and sewn along the lips. The souvenir version is attached to a string to be hung in the home or car. Beneath the shrunken head is a singing fish, a popular kitschy object that turns its head towards the spectator and sings kitschy cover songs when turned on. It is mounted on a plaque and typically hung on the wall like a taxidermy trophy. These layered images, evidently, have something to do with “hanging” and may refer to the hanging of paintings or pictures.

Paintings defy analysis and change meaning or evolve in idiocy at different times and different states. The more we look the more we know, and the more we know the more we don’t know. We know the look of losers and the picture of success. These pictures are successful in displeasing our sense of beauty, and raise philosophical questions that kill the buzz of glamour and glory. How do we solve the circular maze of art making and go beyond the dead ends of imagination? In Jayson Oliveria’s exhibition, After this, everything you do is wrong, the answers are given.

Masi Oliveria, 2015


Seizures: Napalm Visit Opening

The Pope was here over the weekend and the weather was colder than usual. Despite this calm bed and beer weather, the art scene was in a crazy frenzy of simultaneous exhibit openings, like a Seizure and a burning Napalm fire as Israel Remo’s exhibit here at Post.



The artist Israel Remo with the writer Manuel Ocampo Sr.

israel and dada



Israel’s video of himself burning 2 of his paintings intended for this show. The reason for doing so was just out of impulse but he had derived cathartic release from such.




and now his well-wishers, #notcoolpeoplebutalwaysthereatopenings or rather #coolerthancoolbutdontgiveadamnaboutit



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also a reunion of sorts

these 4 had a show at Pablo in the year before the era of hashtags and Instagram


Pipo Alido, Gani Simpliciano, Jobi and Israel (would’ve been complete with Ambok and Robert L)























While these two have had a collaboration before when Cubicle gallery was still open, or before Justin Bieber was born.


Clint Catalan (was part of the trio who managed the artist-run space The Cubicle in Pasig designs clothes under the handle Wormdesigns, is also into graffitti and currently works as a production designer) and Timo Roter (originally from Hamburg but he’s been coming to the Phil for more than 10 years working on various art projects and exhibits, he also used to do graffiti before in the time of Multiply or even way earlier than that. I remember his 1st show here were photodocumentations of his graffitti bombings, but now he’ll be part of a group show opening at Vinyl on Vinyl this March)



Timo and his post-hipster-expose the argyle socks, but nifty leather shoes are locally purchased from one of the last remaining shoe shops here in Cubao X


artist Kat Medina in a breezy vintage lacey blouse

it was a bike to work kind of week as well, here with Helly, straight from his nursing duty



Israel discussing the many stages and types of seizures with writer Masi Solano and artist Jed Escueta. Israel himself, experiences seizures, hence, his works for the exhibit were the results of such attacks.





For some, like Lee and JLC this show was their last stop after 4 openings that night, but still they made it here.









Israel Remo’s Seizure : Napalm Visit opens at Post


A seizure is the physical findings or changes in behavior that occur after an episode of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. When this happens, the body shakes, loses momentary control of its neuro-physiological functions, or it renders the body the opposite – static, still, and falls deep into a stare that pierces infinity, belying the rattle and hum of restless commotion in the mind, birthing ideas spark after spark, surge after surge of voltaic power, a carpet bombing of the mind to waken to brilliance, as seizures are said to contribute a major part in creative thinking by uniting sensitivity, insight, and sustained critical attention.

For this exhibit, Israel Remo’s uses his own experience of seizure attacks as a trigger for his own creative output “producing a bombardment of imagery as if disoriented from the experienced realities, some convoluted, some misdirected, some disoriented, some coalescing, yet all epitomized from the same disorder of losing consciousness” as his paintings depict distorted rooms and nightmarish scenarios in fast cut-up montages.

Israel Remo had Fine Arts training from Kalayaan College and at UP College of Fine Arts in Diliman. He had been actively exhibiting since 2008 where his discordant but brilliantly hued paintings of hiccupping catharsis were featured.  Seizures : Napalm Visit is his 2nd exhibit.

Seizures :Napalm Visit would have its opening cocktails on the 17th of January at 6PM and will be on view until the 28th of February of 2015.

Autonomy Warriors Opening Night at Pablo The Fort

The hangover from the long holiday season lingers a little with the chilly breeze of January that makes one guzzle more whiskey without getting drunk, meaning, the weather is just terrific these days! It’s perfect for drinking and chatting at art openings, such as the opening of Autonomy Warriors with Australia-based artists David Griggs and Rene Sinkjaer at Pablo The Fort last January 10.



Rene Sinkjaer’s works. Originally from Denmark, he just recently moved to Sydney where he is now based.  Although painted briskly and instinctively in a naif style, they are rich in symbolism and metaphorical allusions to mortality and creation.

sinkjaer install



David Griggs’ suite of photographs of skater girls. He’s also produced a limited edition monograph of these photos which quickly got sold out that night.

griggs install



Let’s get the party started with these :

autonomy food




Rene Sinkjaer (left) & Pow Martinez


Daniel Palisa, who works in movies, & Tony Godfrey, who works in the art scene

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There was some trouble earlier. This guy was soliciting 200 bucks from one of the gallery guests. The Fort cops said on the other hand that he was drunk already.



The rockstar and his muse. Pastilan Dong lead Kaloy Olavides fully equipped for a gig


The 2 Lees

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A mini college reunion : Jed, Erin and Mike Crisostomo who will be opening his solo show soon this April at Post Cubao




independent curator & art world networker Merv Espina with his brother

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the posse