Bonded by the brush
by Hannah Jo Uy
October 21, 2013
October 21, 2013
There is no stronger bond than that which is forged in mutual love and appreciation of the visual craft. This particular bond holds those in whatever walk of life or background together, not for anything other than the sheer need to create. They become brothers and sisters in worship of a fickle muse, experiencing, as one, the pain and joy, frustration and victory, emotion and peace that belongs in the honest and sincere imparting of their soul to a work of art. Such is the fellowship of GruppoBiswal.
GruppoBiswal can perhaps be considered a baby in relation to the decades old art groups that are more familiar in the artistic community. However, it is a testament to how a group’s maturity cannot be measured by time, but by the collective efforts, talent and dedication of its members. Coming in to the scene just one year ago, it was created naturally and spontaneously, akin to the beginning of any great friendships. Friendship was in fact the foundation of the group, as its founding members were long time friends who shared a love for the arts, and were hungry for a chance to explore their artistic possibilities coming from different backgrounds. Their latest exhibit, “Biswalisasyon,” marks the group’s third solo exhibition. Unveiled last September 16, 2013 at the ArtAsia Fine Arts Gallery in SM Megamall, “BISWALisasyon,” showcases the diverse talents and expertise of each group member. Among the participating artists are Rex Avila, Ben Cruz, Rey de Guzman, Ace Dimanlig, Gelo Domingo, Jun Montifar, Alfred Morales, Tupe Peralta, Joseph Renta, Tess Torda and Noli Vicedo.
The collection highlights the range of the group’s members. As the founder of GruppoBiswal and former owner of graphic design company Galactic Icons, Eric Cacho patiently enjoys the meticulous hand which his pieces require, offering mixed media works which are captivating for attention to detail. Despite still considering himself a perpetual student of the arts, Cacho has his hands full. “I decide the shows and projects, meetings and workshop,” all of which he considers to be a labour of love.
For pen and ink extraordinaire Ace Dimanlig, he breathes new life into his sketches through the use of serigraphy. “It’s my first time to do something like this,” shares Dimanlig. “I wanted to add innovation to pen and ink sketches. I would like to experiment and experiment.”
Multi-awarded graphic designer Ben Cruz also pursues a fresh take on his usual process by painting directly on wood. “Patikim lang to, teaser. Kasi ginagawa ko more on environmental forestry, that is my personal advocacy. Gusto ko palabasin yung ganda at texture ng kahoy.”
Tupe Peralta, as one of their younger members, offers a new aspect of realism to his already unique medium, paper assemblage. “Ito yung series na puro bata galing sa aking mga gala-gala,” he adds humorously. “Gusto ko siya gawin kasi habang binubuo mo siya, hindi mo alam ang katapusan. Ginagawa ko siya piece by piece.”
Another young blood and considered to be the baby of the bunch, Gelo Domingo also explores new dimensions to his work. “My old works had limited colors, a darker palette. Until unti-unti nagdagdag ng color; doon lumabas ang metamorphosis ng work ko, from night it became morning.”
In Rex Avila’s entries, we see some regional flavour represented in his impressionistic yet realistic acrylic works depicting nostalgic scenes of Vigan, as preserved in his loving memory. “Ang ibang lugar na yan wala na eh,” says Avila.
Jun Montifar continues to highlight the breathtaking beauty of the Philippines, both in its natural gifts and in the delicate figures of its woman as his oil and acrylic works once again present lines that form the timeless and seductive image of a woman, its splendour made more irresistible in juxtaposing it with the ocean and natural scenes in his post expressionism bordering on impressionism signature. Like many members of their group, Jun was an advertising alumni from the UST; this is where he learned how to visualize, design and layout. But despite a successful career in the field, Montifar decided to focus on his first passion.
Alfred Morales’ entry is a testament to his wild and diverse nature, offering two works that seem to be polar opposites of the other. With a dark piece in dry brush and ink as well as one entry in oil, the contrast in mood and texture is striking, nevertheless both exhibiting his unique skill.
Rey de Guzman’s abstract entry, true to its title, is an outburst of emotion and energy tempered with a skilful use of colour and composition. Joseph Renta’s passion overflows with his work as an artist and academician, creating meticulous and detailed religious images that are representatives of underlying cultural values.
Tess Torda juggles many hats as an artist, a mother and active member as well of the Pasig Art Club. Partial to realism, she never fails to dazzle with her skill in watercolour and oil that depicts not only the mood of the subject but consistently evoking strong emotions. Noli Vicedo creates work in colours that reflect the festivity and optimism of the Filipino people, despite any circumstances all in his notable cubism style and provincial everyday scenes.
With their steadfast passion for the arts, and commitment to creation, this exhibit is just the beginning for an art group that can be expected to provide more intriguing collections.