“Who would want to part with a BenCab?”
That was what came to mind when I saw Nude 1, a pastel on paper artwork by the National Artist for Visual Arts, at the recent exhibit of Conrad Manila’s Gallery C.
Figures and Forms, the latest edition of the gallery’s Of Art and Wine Exhibit, features artworks by noted Filipino contemporary artists from private collections.
This will be the first time that Gallery C is doing this kind of exhibit.
“I wanted to experiment,” shared Nestor Jardin, the curator of the exhibit, and the art consultant of SM Hotels Group.
“Most Filipino art collectors have beautiful artworks in their collections. But some of them don’t want to keep them for various reasons. Some reach that point in their life when they want to change their collections. Others have to let go of some artworks because there is no more space in their storage.”
And I would say this experiment was quite successful, as evident by the numerous calls Jardin received from various collectors. He shared that he wants to do the art collector exhibit every two years.
But he has one must-follow condition, among the usual logistics: the price can’t be high. There is a conscious decision to keep the price reasonable.
“We want to make art accessible to every Filipino, to our guests. For instance, the nude sketch of National Artist Cesar Legaspi is very reasonable. The BenCab sketch, in terms of market value, is also quite reasonable,” said Jardin.
He continued: “I hope that those who want to buy paintings here can do so. They can’t afford the auctions, which sell artworks for millions. I don’t want to have an inaccessible gallery. I want to develop patronage for Filipino contemporary visual artists. We have to encourage the young market, so that they will continue to patronize Philippines arts.”
The exhibit features works by established artists like Manuel Baldemor and Thomas Daquioag, as well as emerging young artists such as Khristina Manansala (the granddaughter of National Artist Vicente Manansala, who seems to veer away from the known style of her lolo), Kublai Milan, Karen Alcala, Francisco Segismundo, and Rishab Tibon, among others.
If you look at the artworks, they collectively speak of the immense possibilities of masterful cultural representation through figures and forms, colors and shapes. The exhibit showcases a polarity of the subject matters and messages reinforced by the unpredictable techniques used by the artists.
In a way, in Jardin’s words, the exhibit is “a panorama of Philippine contemporary arts,” as it shows the wide scope of figures and forms, as well as subject matters and styles.
“When I saw the artworks, they were good representations of forms, shapes, and figures. We have various styles – from figurative, realist, expressionistic art, abstract, nudes, and drawings,” said Jardin.
The exhibit runs until August 27. Part of the sales is for the benefit of the Art Association of the Philippines.
“We are delighted to celebrate Of Art and Wine’s 19th installment in the hotel’s sixth year of operations. This furthers our commitment to championing the Filipino artists and artistry,” said Conrad Manila general manager Linda Pecoraro.
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It’s always been a pleasure (and educational) every time we, the young (ahem) reporters covering the art beat, talk to Jardin.
During our conversation at the opening of Figures and Forms, I learned that National Artist Legaspi was color-blind. It’s amazing how he was able to create colorful artworks.
“When he was alive, he said that he would see shapes of browns and greys. After doing the rough sketch, he would imagine the colors he wanted to put on it. That’s why his paintings are on the darker side, although he would add colors.
Jardin spoke highly of the color palette of the late National Artist. “His color palette was so masterful and tasteful. Even his oil paintings, despite being color blind, the final paintings appeared beautiful in terms of color combinations and intensity.”
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Shoutout to my friend Karla Rey who sent me an interesting book, Makisawsaw: Recipes x Ideas. I’ve met her during media coverage and familiarization tours around the country.
In a time when the prices of basic commodities are skyrocketing, this is a good recipe book to maximize your hard-earned money. It has recipes for different rice, vegetables such as squash, gourds, roots and tubers, leafy veggies, legumes, and what have you.
Proceeds of the book sale for this edition will benefit the Food Today, Food Tomorrow program, organized by the Slow Food Community for Agribiodiverse Gardens in Quezon City.
Visit www.foodtodayfoodtomorrow.org to learn more about the program and opportunities.
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By the way, the Bayan Bayanan play I wrote in my last column was moved to another date: July 29 to 31. Those who have bought tickets for July 15 to 17 shows, they will be honored on the show dates. See the updates on the CCP website and official Facebook page.