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Miguel Augusto Sison & Liza de los Reyes: How imagination takes root

By IGAN D'BAYAN, The Philippine Star Published Nov 22, 2021 5:00 am

Consider the space a garden. A throb of blooms, the stun of petals. Two artists meditate on what grows in their inner gardens in back-to-back shows on view until Nov. 30 at J Studio: “Imaginarium” by Miguel Augusto “Mikko” Sison and “Roots of Possibilities” by Liza de los Reyes.

For De los Reyes, her paintings “exemplify the evolution of a seed into full blossoming, a metaphor for the soul and its journey to becoming.”

She has been running her own internet-based technology business for 24 years now. That’s her left brain in action, but her heart gravitates toward self-expression.

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“When I paint, I meditate on life’s lights and shadows, its cycles, tides and ebbs. And how, in spite of the nature of change, life can still be beautiful.”

De los Reyes loves flowers as subject not only for their natural beauty, but because of their lightness of being and resiliency. “It is a reminder of how each thing around us that we consider common is actually exquisite — if only for the process it has taken to become that.”

She talks about what the flowers in her current exhibition symbolize.

“They demonstrate a personal struggle through loss and grief. I hope it is able to show the element of survival, growth and blossoming — if not victory — through darkness and difficulties.”

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Sison, on the other hand, rattles off a list of words to illustrate the overarching theme for his “Imaginarium” show: “Remember. Rehabilitate. Revive. Restore. Reprieve. Rejuvenate. Rebirth. Resurrect. Rejoice. Revel.”

He goes on to amplify, “My work is autobiographical in nature and theme. It is a reflection of the world in and around me as expressed through my own experience of and within. Premeditation or planning goes only so far as to define and or refine an intent or thought I wish to express. This goes with the selection of media and technique employed. 

“There are no sequels or prequels from one collection to the other. When a certain ‘theme’ would seem to recur or resurface, it is only similar in appearance and color but not overall meaning.” 

Sison stresses that he is not conscious about making statements as an artist.

“As an expressive individual, it comes natural for me to emote what makes me an individual and not an inclusive attempt to gain or search for like-minded folk. I do not make any projections as to what and how I will be expressing myself in this genre. As I evolve with time and experiences. I expect that my sensibilities will correspond in kind.”

 What does De los Reyes say about the art of Sison?

In bloom: Miguel Augusto Sison and Liza de los Reyes paintings on view at J Studio

“Mikko is a force,” she shares. “He is uncompromising in his art and in his creative process — raw, honest, and driven. As a person, I admire his authenticity and convictions for what he believes in. He doesn’t run with the pack, and his courage to be different is admirable. Mikko invited me to have a show this year and I took the opportunity, as it is something I have wanted to do all this time.”

Sison responds, “Liza’s work is delicate though firm, free-flowing yet deliberate.”

This is apparent in De los Reyes’ deft handling of paint to render in macro the fragility and amazing strength of flowers: as if these petaled wonders, entire worlds-in-themselves, are rising from inexpressible voids to face everything with radiance.

“I believe that in every soul, there is a core, a seed from which life emerges, rebelliously pushing outward,” she concludes. “The defiant will to survive shatters the shell. The seed, now in transformation, lends itself vulnerably to the elements. Heat, wind, water, a multitude of creatures — the hungry, disinterested, symbiotic, predatory — surround it. The options are simple: to live or to die. And if the answer is ‘to live,’ the question is ‘how.’”

“Imaginarium” and “Roots of Possibilities” are on view until Nov. 30 at J Studio, Pasillo18, La Fuerza Gate 1 Compound, 2241 Chino Roces, Makati City. For inquiries and appointments, email [email protected], call (+63) 935-537-6399, or follow J Studio on social media.