“Beautiful nudes made it possible for us to contemplate our sexuality in safety.” -Martha Mayer Erlebacher
No one has the ability to understand women better than a woman. And no one has presented the image of a woman with as much passion, empathy and respect than artist Raquel Bautista.
Signing her artworks “Rax”, this seasoned and eclectic artist has an unquenchable thirst for life and all the magnificence that it offers. She is consumed by art, with a raging need to create constantly and consistently through whatever form available to her. To see life through her eyes is to see the potential for beauty in anything and everything. And through her eyes, the height of beauty is achieved through the female form.
The gentle lines that form a woman’s body, the sensuality in every delicate curve, the exuberant life-giving qualities that exist fully in her biology, such have been a constant source of inspiration for Rax Bautista.
Rax Bautista is an interdisciplinary artist. She took up Fine Arts at the College of the Holy Spirit. Soon after graduating, she took up Fashion Design at the Premier Fashion School and then enrolled at the Philippine School of Interior Design. Still in need of more artistic illumination, she went on to take up people photography at the Academy of Arts in San Francisco.
After finishing her studies in San Francisco, Rax dove headfirst into a career in photography, carving a respectable name for herself in the commercial and fashion industry. People have always been a point of interest for Rax because of the aesthetic possibilities that the human figure holds. She had taken it upon herself to unleash the inherent sensuality of a woman. Her bubbly personality and easygoing attitude made her popular among her clients who would immediately be at ease with her. Her aura creates an atmosphere of peace, allowing her female subject to release her animal instincts, no longer stifled by self-image or insecurities.
It is Bautista’s sincere belief in every woman’s sexiness and corresponding respect for such sensuality that carries over to work, allowing her to create tasteful nude photographs.With her sharp eye for aesthetics and fashion, notable magazines such as Metro, Manual, Working Mom, and FHM sought out her works.
However, photography is not her only interest. Aside from taking her photography to new heights with her creative direction, edgy style and knowledge of make-up, she also dabbled in interior design providing pieces for notable stores such as Rustan’s. For Rax, nothing goes to waste. A discarded forgotten sofa is transformed into a striking furniture piece under her meticulous instruction, a light fixture becomes an installation artwork from scraps of aluminum and plastic with the help of her imagination, and pillows become a canvas to her wild and innovative combinations of textures, metals, beads and embroidery.
Amid her mastery of multiple mediums, there is one that is closest to her heart, and that is painting. Rax Bautista’s personality as a painter is as fiery and adventurous, not unlike the way she approaches all her artistic endeavors. This is evident in her exceptional mixed media works that combine her work with the brush and her photography along with a diverse number of other materials creating textured three-dimensional pieces.
“I’ve always been interested in people,” says Bautista. “I don’t like landscapes and still life, gusto ko ng challenge. I want something that moves. I’m especially fascinated with the female form. I’m fascinated with anatomy. I often incorporate my works with nudes since I’m a photographer.”
In her upcoming exhibit entitled, “Unbounded,” we are invited into her realm of endless possibilities, a reminder of her refusal to be shackled to traditional art making. Featuring 33 works, “Unbounded” marks her fourth solo exhibition. Her collection includes various materials, from wood salvaged from century old shipwrecks, to scraps of metal and even stone. However, it is her lighted abstract works that are set to delight viewers, being another innovative step forward in her never-ending quest to push her boundaries. The light creates within the horizontal abstract work a mood that adds depth and dimension to the piece, giving a different side to the same beautifully crafted coin. Rax Bautista’s paintings are visual representations of her innermost emotions. She paints angry, sad, and happy, putting together evocative and emotional works of art. Most importantly, she paints from her soul and all that it grieves and fights for.
A special place in the heart of this artist has long been reserved for mistreated and abused women, abandoned children and other forgotten souls. Her advocacy against exploitation and human trafficking was awakened during a trip to Boracay. A vacation that was meant to refresh her artistic soul ended up grieving her, as she was blatantly confronted with the perverse reality of exploitation affronting her own gender. In her anger, she fights back in the only way she knows how, through her art, refusing to create works that would exploit women, or present the form in a negative way. Included in her exhibit is the artistic expression of her outrage - an artistic expression that translates to her active participation as the proceeds of some works will be given to support the Batis Foundation for Women.
Indeed, Rax Bautista had not only given women beauty through her artworks, but also, perhaps most importantly, she has given them a voice.
Catch “Unbounded” at the Rico Renzo Gallery located at LRI Design Plaza this coming February 7, 2013.