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Untethered artists (in uncharted waters)

By SCOTT GARCEAU, The Philippine STAR Published Feb 12, 2024 5:00 am

Among the galleries presenting at this year’s Art Fair Philippines, Galeria Paloma promises to mix things up—specifically, tossing musicians and artists into uncharted waters, working in mediums they’ve never attempted before, with a wide range of collaborations on canvas and in digital form.

The show is called “Un|Tethered,” and it clearly leans into the notion that artists are not limited to one medium of creative expression. There’s a striking mixture of digital collaboration and original sounds added on as layers over original artworks.

Basti Artadi’s “Plagiarize”

Take husband-and-wife team Martin Honasan and Barbie Almalbis. Honasan, known for his layered mixed-media projects shown at CCP and Ayala Museum ArtistSpace, pairs with multi-awarded music icon Almalbis. For their collaboration, they’ve created animated augmented-reality layers, set to Almalbis’ original music. Honasan began with line sketches which progress to line portraits, slowly fading as the underlying painting asserts itself, “like watching a song get to the chorus, the stanzas beginning slowly, leading up to the bridge, tying it all together,” says Galeria Paloma’s Mia Rocha-Lauchengco. The digital superimposition brings out the best of both artists in a digital work titled “Rehoboth” (referring to a Biblical well).

Carina Santos, “Methods of Figuration”

And while most people know National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab for his pop and orchestral works, he’s recently taken a side journey into painting: his extreme-close-up masked self-portraits (“Eyefies”) are matched with overlaid messages and content from Cryptoartph co-founder Jopet Arias: a vivid impression, to say the least.

Martin Honasan, “Rehoboth I”

Then there’s Wolfgang singer Basti Artadi, whose rock journey has led him to visual art, where, in two raw mixed-media pieces—“Plagiarize” and “Inspire”—he dissects the subject of stolen Pinoy music (specifically, the Eheads’). “It got me thinking about the ways we consume our music, how we see our musical heroes, and, to an extent, how we consume art in general,” says the rock singer. A third piece—a blast of rock iconography called “Idolize”—is paired with Artadi’s own digital overlays, including original music.

Carla Gamalinda’s “A Soft Place to Fall’’ (24 x 72-inch diptych)

The idea wasn’t simply to take fishes out of water; it was to capture what floats to the surface. Some of the digital manipulations show a more learned hand than others. But the common connection was a willingness to go outside comfort zones. Says gallery co-director Kimberly Rocha-Delgado, “For ‘Un|Tethered,’ well-known artists, revered in painting, sculpture and music, venture into the digital realm for the first time, with a keen ability to innovate and adapt… transcending the traditional boundaries.”

Carlos, “The Music at the Backgarden”

Having multiple venues for expression—writing, painting, music—suited the artists, Mia says: “There’s a common thread here, something we recognized in each of the artists: they were thinking on or were engulfed by (in the best way) two or more planes of expression already, whether they recognized it or not.”

Ernest Concepcion’s “Mucky Muck”

There’s an invigorating energy to what this challenge shakes loose. Ernest Concepcion’s work has long relied on built-up layers, a gestural energy that reveals postmodern themes of mythology, war and art history; pair that with crypto artist and graphic designer AJ Dimarucot, who supplies digital morphing layers, and you get “Mucky Muck,” a looping 90-second video that pulsates and warps across an anamorphic screen.

Ryan Cayabyab’s “Eyefie 16”

Another husband-and-wife team, graphite artist Sarah de Veyra-Buyco and animator Hamill Buyco, create the stunning hologram piece “Nebula 3.” Manila-based artist Lindslee transforms his signature message “cakes” into a time-lapse journey through the artist’s process; Carina Santos’ subtle, nuanced abstracts on canvas are treated to interactive overlays in the piece “Methods of Figuration,” where visitors map a geophysical route of non-linear meaning on a digital screen; and artist (and Philippine STAR writer) Carla Gamalinda offers pieces from her series “Soft Places”: dreamlike, surrealist images of rest with indications of interruption, layered with augmented reality animation; it’s her take on Philippine labor and the concept of leisure.

Lindslee’s “Peace Be With You”

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Galeria Paloma’s “Un|Tethered” will show at Art Fair, Feb. 16-18, at Booth 25, 5/F, The Link.