Manilart 09: What Caught My Eye

I love art exhibits, although to be honest a lot of the more popular contemporary styles are a bit too abstract for my tastes–or too boring: I can see and respect the artistry that was required to paint a photo-realistic picture… but if it’s just another beatified pastoral-rural scene my eyes glaze over. I guess my cousin is the one who got all the high-end artistic appreciation skillz.

Still, I do love art exhibits and Manilart 09 seemed to boast a wide enough variety of styles and mediums of artwork to entice me and my wife to brave the possibility of gale force winds last weekend for the NBC Tent. I’m glad we did-there was a lot of stunning and (to my uncultured eye at least) innovative art on display. Here are some of my favorite pieces that contained elements of the surreal and the fantastic:

“Let’s Save the World” by Anthony Palo: Anyone for a high-art RPG? I love the feeling of eerie whimsy I get from this piece. Strange how it’s the humans who look the most alien to my eye… if they are humans that is.

“Claws” by Lotsu Manes: There’s just something striking about a Superman costume being the prize in a traditional pabitin - especially when you realize that, upon a close inspection of the grasping hands, those children aren’t human.

“Guardian of Patrimony” by Randalf Dilla: What I like here is the way the different elements are structured in such a way that the layered/tiered canvas gives the impression of depth.

[More favorites from Manilart 09 after the cut]

I couldn’t find a title/artist for this one but it’s a striking image isn’t it? Would make a great cover for an anthology of strange fiction.

“Thy Kingdom Preys” by Liv Romualdez Vinluan: I like the contrast made by the washed out look of everything but the red halo, and the fact that the features “on” the face belong to the snake, and not the woman.

“Unlocking the Paradox of Wisdom” by Jon Jaylo: Well the title is uncommonly expressive of what the artist intended the piece to mean, but it still makes for an interesting composite (does the blue-ish bird represent happiness I wonder? Or impossibility maybe, if it’s a hummingbird… I’m not good with avians). Reminded me a bit of Jose Elvin Bueno’s story in Philippine Speculative Fiction IV. (Or maybe that’s because it was next to a picture of a boy and a mango.)

“Supa” (triptych: Supa Nano, Supa Uod and Supa U2)” by Jose Tence Ruiz: I like the different takes on that iconic pose, each image arresting by itself but made more interesting when taken together… and I dig the title of the piece as well.

“Baby Sitter” by Jaspher Penuliar: It stopped me in my tracks to see a huge painting of Bay-movie Optimus amidst the rest of the pieces. Anyone who can render in paint the disjointed monstrosity that is a Michael-Bay-movie Transformer has my respect.

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