10 Art Exhibits to See This September

From collections of Philippine modern art to watercolor portraits of Manila.

(SPOT.ph) We've all witnessed the shift the local art scene has undergone in recent years, as it has consistently gathered momentum and attracted a more mainstream audience. The question now: How do you keep that momentum going? By continuing to go out there to appreciate art, for one thing.

Here are the exhibits worth seeing this September:

Wawi Navarroza: Self-Portraits & The Tropical Gothic

Self-portraits have been a recurring subject in the 20-year practice of multi-disciplinary artist Wawi Navarroza, who initially wanted to be a filmmaker, but found herself drawn to photography instead. Taking on the role of both the creator and muse, these portraits—a syncretic mix of parts of Navarroza’s self—serves as a visual memoir and an ode to the genre that defines her works.

Runs until September 14 at Silverlens, 2263 Don Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City. For more information, visit Silverlens’ website.

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Aligning Histories

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Aligning Histories casts a new light around the lives of Art Association of the Philippines founder Purita Kalaw-Ledesma and lawyer and diplomat Jorge B. Vargas, both alumni of the University of the Philippines and patrons of the arts. Although little is known about the connection between the two cultural figures, they are connected by fascinating intersections in history bound by kinship, politics, and their support for modernist art, which saw its beginnings in the country years before the Commonwealth Period. Their respective modern art collections span a suite of paintings, sculptures, prints, and mixed-media works surrounding various stages of post-war reconstruction and nation-building in the Philippines.

Runs from September 14 to October 15 at  the Jorge B. Vargas Museum, University of the Philippines – Diliman, Quezon City. For more information, visit UP Vargas Museum’s website

Looking at Your Brain By Means of a Mirror

"Terror" by Ikea Rizalon
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A group exhibition by visual artists including Nice Buenaventura, Lena Cobangbang, and Ikea Rizalon, Looking at Your Brain By Means of a Mirror examines one’s internal impulse translated into external form through self-awareness and critical assessment. It also encourages discussions on how seemingly unlikely ideas can be turned into concrete possibilities with imagination and creativity.

Runs until September 21 at Artery Art Space, 102 P. Tuazon Boulevard, Cubao, Quezon City. For more information, visit Artery Art Space’s website

Phenomenology of Magical Thinking

Phenomenology of Magical Thinking, a three-pronged exhibit by artist and curator Riel Hilario, features a series of book sculptures peculiarly embedded with body parts, illustrations of the artist’s favorite authors such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; and a collection of sculptures featuring human-headed birds as well as his famed rebultos—a colonial art form of religious statuary taught to him by his family, who were traditional santo-carvers. The exhibition, Hilario muses, echoes his hope of pushing cultural unity through contemporary art.

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Runs until September 21 at West Gallery, 48 West Avenue, Quezon City. For more information, follow West Gallery on Facebook.

On the Benefits of a Crowded Space

Award-winning painter Rodel Tapaya emerges from a decade-long exhibition hiatus with On the Benefits of a Crowded Space, which delves into the subject of the human condition in relation to human habitation—from informal settlements and traditional dwellings like stone and clay houses. For this exhibit, he fills the gallery halls of Artinformal Makati with a series of works from paper cutouts to collograph prints using random scraps—an invitation for an observation of the world by looking at folk mythology and the realities of modern-day society.

Runs from September 14 to October 12 at Artinformal, Karrivin Plaza, Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City. For more information, visit Artinformal’s website.

Sun Yu Li X Ramon Orlina: A Benefit Exhibit

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Aside from Singaporium: A Lifestyle and Food Pop-Up, The Podium continues to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and the Philippines through a benefit exhibition of art pieces by Sun Yu Li and Ramon Orlina. Sun Yu Li is the founder of the non-profit arts organization Sculpture Square in Singapore. His portfolio includes sculptures, digital art, and drawings that are mostly underpinned by architectural logic and conscious interactions with the immediate environment. Meanwhile, internationally awarded artist Ramon Orlina is hailed as the pioneering glass sculptor in the country. His monoliths, often massive in scale, have shifted in subject from abstractions to the female body throughout his years in practice. Proceeds from the sales of the artists’ works will be donated to The PARC (Performing Arts and Recreation Center) Foundation.

Runs until September 15 at The Podium, 12 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City. For more information, visit The Podium’s Facebook page.

Temporal Dislocation

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Images of nature take on an abstract form with Temporal Dislocation, a solo show by Philippine Art Awards awardee Trek Valdizno. His biomorphic paintings are made by means of splattering water and various colors of paint on canvas, and then spreading it with a palette knife to achieve a technicolor image. This technique proves how exceptional figurations can take shape through the use of unconventional tools.

Runs until October 31 at Galleria Duemila, 210 Loring Street, Pasay City. For more information, visit Galleria Duemila’s website.

Noise Field #1 

"Typhoon (around and around we go)" by James Clar Courtesy of Silverlens

Noise Field #1 is an exhibition by American visual artist James Clar, whose works explore the effects of media and technology in shaping our perception of culture, space, and reality. At Silverlens, he displays digitized daydreams made up of car doors with laser scanners repeating a vibrant pattern over it, and an installation of a clear resin plane strewn with fruits and birds illuminated by the constant blinking of LED lights.

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Runs until September 14 at Silverlens, 2263 Don Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City. For more information, visit Silverlens’ website.

Bless Us Anyway

Filipina visual artist Geraldine Javier is one of the most celebrated Southeast Asian artists both in the academic world and in the art market. In Bless Us Anyway, she takes off from her concept on Museum of Many Things, a 2011 exhibit shown at Valentine Willie Fine Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It features inanimate specimens that are beautifully dressed up in various objects, creating the impression that they're alive.

Runs from September 14 to October at 15 MO_Space, MOS_Design Building, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City. For more information, visit MO_Space’s website.

In Between Manila

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These days, it’s easy to whip out a camera to snap a photo of memories you want to stay with you. Vin Quilop, however, found a more meaningful way to capture these fleeting moments using an unconventional tool: watercolor. As an urban and travel sketcher, Quilop was the sole participant from the country in this year’s Art Vancouver art fair in Canada. His first solo exhibition presented there, In Between Manila, comes home to Altro Mondo to show the beauty and grit of Manila’s busy streets, its old-age architectural beauty and the many facets of a chaotic yet thriving metropolis.

Runs until November 10 at Altro Mondo Gallery, 3/F The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences, 119 L.P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. For more information, visit Altro Mondo’s website

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