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Art thrives by the sea

I have to admit that I was not very familiar with the art of printmaking, so when Conrad Manila invited me to the opening of a printmaking exhibit, their curtain-raiser for the year, and the 15th edition of their highly successful Of Art And Wine series, I went out of my way to learn more about this unique art form.

I found out that artists can also make beautiful art pieces by first creating an image or a relief on a matrix, usually made out of wood, rubber, metal, or even plastic, then using ink or paint to print such image on paper or cloth. This process allows multiple original artworks, if the artist so desires. 

 This lithograph masterpiece, entitled ‘Deterioration,’ by noted printmaker Ronald Ventura, was sold for P250,000.
These artists have been producing countless masterpieces and in 1969 formed the Association of Pinoyprintmakers. The group partners with local and international organizations to actively promote printmaking in the country through exhibitions and classes. They even have a studio complete with printmaking facilities which artists and students may have access to. 

The exhibit at Conrad Manila features 24 artists and 34 of their art pieces, and was named “Thrive,” underscoring the art community’s courage to cope, conform, and survive as the world struggles to overcome the disastrous effect of this pandemic. The tag, according to the hotel’s personable general manager Linda Pecoraro, also resonates perfectly with their commitment to stay strong and resolute for the industry and the country. 

 Yas Doctor making it look easy, as she demonstrates the process of printmaking using  hard rubber as matrix.
During the event, I met one of the pillars of the association, the internationally trained and multi-awarded Ambie Abaño who has two beautiful masterpieces, using woodcut on handmade paper, on display at the hotel’s Gallery C. One is a life-size depiction of her mother’s face, which she named “Introspection,” so dramatically portrayed that it caught my attention right away as I was walking along the hall lined with art pieces on my way to the event. 

What I also found very interesting were the two medium-sized lithographs of noted printmaker Ronald Ventura, both made more than 20 years ago, and already sold for P250,000 apiece. These may still be viewed by guests as part of the exhibit. 

Conrad Manila’s affable general manager Linda Pecoraro stands beside the Ambie  Abaño masterpiece, ‘Introspection,’ a depiction of the artist’s mother, using woodcut on 
handmade paper.
Although virtually launched, I preferred to be a part of the exhibit’s opening live, so I joined a few other guests in personally being there to appreciate the art pieces up close. Of course, I have to admit I need very little prodding for me to spend time at my “happy place,” my favorite hotel by the sea, the Conrad Manila. 

Another expert printmaker, Yas Doctor, did a quick demo on printmaking, and made it look very easy as she showed us the different techniques, explaining the artistic process of transferring images from a matrix to another surface, with the resulting print the mirror image of the original relief created on the matrix. 

Nes Jardin, executive consultant for SM Hotels and Convention Centers and project  director of the exhibit; and Ambie Abaño, board member of the Association of 
Pinoyprintmakers who organized the exhibit, pose beside one of the latter‘s masterpieces,  ‘Mulier de Terra’ which used woodcut on handmade paper mounted on canvas. 
I made sure I took a very close look at how the process was done, so that I could try to learn it. Who knows, I could also make a lucrative career out of it, especially now that I found out that some of the pieces on display fetched a whopping quarter-of-a-million pesos. But, then again, would I still have the patience and the steady hand to produce something that would look like a piece of art and not a Halloween mask? 

The display-for-purchase of the Pinoyprintmakers’ art pieces is ongoing at Conrad Manila’s Gallery C until the middle of this month. More information, including the price list, is available at (02) 8833-9999 or through [email protected]

Topics: Conrad Manila , printmaking exhibit , Of Art And Wine
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