Synchronized Syncopation

Various Artists

Andre Baldovino, Benjie Cabangis, Zean Cabangis, Clarence Chun, August Lyle Espino, Gene Paul Martin, Jonathan Olazo, Bernardo Pacquing, Carina Santos, Nestor Vinluan

Andre Baldovino, Benjie Cabangis, Zean Cabangis, Clarence Chun, August Lyle Espino, Gene Paul Martin, Jonathan Olazo, Bernardo Pacquing, Carina Santos, Nestor Vinluan

16 March - 21 April 2024

Curated by 

Lec Cruz

16 March - 21 April 2024
Synchronized Syncopation | MO_Space

Synchronized Syncopation

Our first glance of the world is “abstract,” until we start naming things.  The dots in the sky became stars; the patterns in nature became systems and numbers; and the moving numbers became music.  Our youth made us appreciate the non-representational and our older-selves allow us to rediscover the beauty we once knew.

The world of abstraction and non-representational art works have been embraced in the Philippines for more than 70 years and yet they remain elusive and engulfing when it comes to meaning-making. Like visual poetries that pulls us into their own metaphors and individual characteristics, when done right, we can see the never-ending possibility of knowing it and its dynamic revelations from seeing it at different points of our life.

The exhibition tries to contextualize Philippine abstraction and the non-representational  as it evolves in different forms throughout the years. It provides a snapshot of abstraction as it flows in time, like a musical groove that pierces visually, being shaped and reshaped based on the different eras it evolved in. The goal is to highlight well-established abstract artists from various generations that lead up to the contemporary artists, forming a narrative and a mini-survey of Philippine abstraction.

Both appointed as Professor Emeriti at The University of the Philippines, Diliman, College of Fine Arts (UPCFA) Nestor Vinluan and Benjie Cabangis taught and mentored generations of notable UP artists.  They continued to challenge our notion of what abstraction in images can be as spurred by the works of the second generation of Thirteen Modernists such as Jose Joya, Constancio Bernardo, Fernando Zobel and Arturo Luz.  Vinluan’s 6x9’ long work “Radiance” encapsulates his enduring ethereal and spiritual take on image making.  The painstaking control of his brushes’ splatter of white paint across the bluish-black surface of the canvas can almost take us into his contemplative state, exacting the moment how he envisions both the internal and external imagery of the natural world.  Cabangis breaks down the formality of geometric shapes and structures with his layers of colors and textures.  In his work “Nilay-Nilay II,” horizontal lines are transformed into illusions and allusions as he commands minute details on top of the initial layers to create the wavy movements that seep into the viewer’s own memories.

Bernardo Pacquing and Jonathan Olazo started their careers at the cusp of time when Modern and Postmodern Deconstructionist theories started to shape Philippine Art.  They were both mentored by Roberto “Bobby” Chabet, the pioneering artist of Philippine Conceptual Art.  Pacquing has mastered the materiality of any medium he employs and combines rigidity and fluidity, in equal measure, to his works.  His work “Untitled” commands our eyes to stare at the concrete-like and almost sculptural varying gray paint that dominates the vertical image while the pink and child-like organic shape he uses opens up other possibilities on how to view his piece in its entirety.  Olazo on the other hand always views his works as a means to explore and express abstraction either by chance or by deep introspection.  His seemingly playful use of paint in his works “Modern Mystique” and “Vertigo Defeat and Ventriloquist Stars” are conducted by both his natural ability to find harmony in visual compositions and his years of experience in mastering the art of controlling the arbitrary accidentals.

Two of the most prolific and ever-evolving artists of Contemporary Philippine Art, Zean Cabangis and Gene Paul Martin shows no sign of slowing down when it comes to expanding the scope of their ongoing oeuvre.  Cabangis and Martin both started their careers with figurative works and continued their ongoing transitions to surreal image making to their now boundaries of non-representational and abstract representations.  In Cabangis’ “Thinking of the Times I Said No I & II,” his signature use of colors are ever present and the markings over them using graphite and chalk pastel takes us back to his use of photographs of the outdoors and the places he visits.  Martin’s “Cliffhanger,” exemplifies his ability to combine his technical skills and his instinctive nature of making complex imagery in creating a seemingly “fleeting moment of creation.”  His fathomless creativity and his striking use of colors transforms any two-dimensional surface into a fantastical 3D imagery covering our senses and our wonderment.

Image making is mostly informed and a by-product of the artist’s background and environment, such is the case for artists Carina Santos and Clarence Chun.  Santos has been surrounded by art for most of her life and career as an Art Director and a graduate of the University of the Arts in London while Chun has a BFA at the University of Houston School of Art and an MFA in Painting at The School of Visual Arts in New York.  Their unique take on art making can be viewed as a result of their diasporic state as their ties lie between the West and the Philippines.  Chun’s “This Time Is Fine Just As It Is,” combines the polished dynamism of ink-like black shapes and the organic flow of lumps of paint atop it.  The end result speaks volume of how the seas and the waves that triggered his childhood and now measures the distance between his two separated lands influences and evokes his personal memories and history through his works.  Santos’ “Untitled” provides us a glimpse into her evolving imagery-making, from her mountainous landscape to her now washed and flowing muted colors of abstraction.  Her works are reminiscent of how pedestrian words can be turned into poems, as if she says “lands and spaces” but we see poetry melting away into paints and shapes.

The forefront of the ongoing history of Philippine abstract painters are artists Andre Baldovino and August Lyle Espino.  New media and technology have influenced both artists while being grounded by the fundamentals of abstract art making.  As a digital artist creating NFTs and traditional painter, Baldovino finds a way to combine both technology and nature in his works.  His works “Mental Peaks” and “Bent Reality” suggest heavily philosophical questions of man’s existence at this time of fast-paced technological advancements.  The sharp edges and strong linear quality of his works is a nod to architecture and industrial structures, while the soft and painterly qualities are his ode to the magnificence of nature around us.  Espino is a practicing filmmaker and painter who implores narratives through both his chosen mediums.  In “8 Thousand Thoughts Per Second,” he is able to relay a human condition of having x amount of thoughts per day into layers of representation and abstraction.  The human figure at the left most part seems to outburst with overflowing shapes and scribbles as if transforming his own non-descriptive thoughts into a lump of insurmountable concepts and imagery.

This parsec of multi-generational abstract artists the exhibition is able to contain aims to traverse a corner of the vast history and collection of Philippine Abstract artists – a mini-travelogue of our own land of non-representational art.  It challenges the audience to reconsider abstract art as more than a mere fixture or an ornament,  for once you hear a syncopation in between the synchronized beat of your hearts while staring at one, you just “understand” without the need to know the whats and the hows behind it.  You may even rediscover the way you saw the world from the time you first set eyes upon it.

Exhibition Documentation

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  • Bent Reality
    Andre Baldovino
    oil on canvas
    4 x 3 ft.
    2024
  • Mental Peaks
    AndreBaldovino
    oil on canvas
    4 x 3 ft.
    2024
  • ”Nilay-NilayII”
    BenjieCabangis
    acrylic on canvas
    91.44 x 91.44 cm
    2023
  • ”SomewhereHorizons Meet III”
    Benjie Cabangis
    acrylic on canvas
    45.72 x 121.92 cm
    2022
  • ”Somewhere Horizons Meet IV”
    BenjieCabangis
    acrylic on canvas
    45.72 x 121.92 cm
    2022
  • “Thinking of the times I said No I”
    Zean Cabangis
    acrylic, emulsion transfer, cement, graphite, oil and chalk pastel on canvas
    20 x 18 in.
    2023
  • “Thinking of the times I said No II”
    Zean Cabangis
    acrylic, emulsion transfer, cement, graphite, oil and chalk pastel on canvas
    22 x 16 in.
    2023
  • “This time is fine just as it is”
    Clarence Chun
    acrylic on canvas
    48 x 34 in.
    2024
  • The lamp has ears
    August Lyle Espino
    acrylic on canvas
    122 x 122 cm
    2024
  • 8 thousand thoughts per second
    August Lyle Espino
    acrylic on canvas
    122 x 122 cm
    2024
  • cliffhanger
    Gene Paul Martin
    oil on canvas
    4x 6 ft.
    2024
  • “Cleft in the Storm”
    Jonathan Olazo
    acrylic on canvas
    36 x 24 in.
    2024
  • “Modern Mystique”
    Jonathan Olazo
    acrylic on canvas
    24 x 36 in.
    2024
  • “Vertigo Defeat and Ventriloquist Stars”
    Jonathan Olazo
    acrylic on canvas
    24 x 36 in.
    2023
  • Untitled
    Bernardo Pacquing
    oil on canvas
    6 x 4 ft.
    2009
  • "Inherent Forms A"
    Carina Santos
    oil on canvas
    4 x 3 ft.
    2024
  • "Inherent Forms B"
    Carina Santos
    oil on canvas
    4 x 3 ft.
    2024
  • White Radiance
    Nestor Vinluan
    acrylic on canvas
    6 x 9 ft.
    2008

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Exhibition View

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Video Catalogue

About the Artist

About the Artists

Andre Baldovino

Image courtesy of the Artist
Andre Baldovino

Andre Baldovino (b. 1985)  is a painter who continuously explores abstraction and its implications vis-a-vis boundaries alongside the human experience. A graduate of the UP College of Fine Arts, he comes from an artistic background from which he continues to expand his skills by tapping into his family histories. Since 2013, Baldovino has joined various group exhibitions in art galleries and museums such as Finale Art File and Gravity Art Space.

Benjie Cabangis

Benjie Cabangis

Benjie Cabangis (b.1957) graduated with a BFA in painting from the University of the Philippines, College of Fine Arts in 1978. He was visual arts instructor at the Philippine High School for the Arts at the National Arts Center from1978-1980, and served as resource person and lecturer for the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Artists’ Workshop, 1983-1985, and the SEAMEO Project for Archaeology and Fine Arts, 1985. He was chairperson of the Department of Studio Arts from 1993-1998 at the UP College of Fine Arts where he is now a Professor Emeritus.

Cabangis has thirty-one solo exhibitions to date and numerous local and international group exhibitions. He was part of the Philippine representative in Young Art in Asia Now, Hong Kong Arts Center,1980 ; the ASEAN Painting and Photography Exhibition, Indonesia, 1980; Philippine Abstract Art, Alffield Gallery, Hong Kong, 1985; and the ASEAN Travelling Exhibit of Paintings in ASEAN countries, 1988-1989, Cornerstones, Southeast Asian Contemporary Art, the 17th Asian International Art Exhibition, Daejeon , Korea in 2002, the Asean - Japan Fine Arts Colleges Network 2015, Yogyakarta , Indonesia and The Group Exhibition of ASEAN-China Academies of Fine Arts at the Tianjin, China in 2016. In 2015, he attended the Frans Masereel Centrum print residency in Kasterlee, Belgium.

His works can be found in public, private and corporate collections including those at the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, Washington DC, the Philippine Consulate in New York and the Central Bank of the Philippines, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, among others.

He was conferred the UP Gawad Chancellor Award as the University’s Outstanding Visual Artist in 2000. In 1978, the Cultural Center of the Philippines accorded him the Thirteen Artists Award.  He was also a grantee of the Fernando Amorsolo Professorial Chair in Painting in 1992, 1996, 2002 and 2004, the UP Arts Productivity Award in 2014 and the Jose Joya Professorial Chair in 2018.

Cabangis is listed in the 2018 CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, the most authoritative and comprehensive source of information on Philippine art and culture. It is an invaluable record of the Filipinos’ artistic contribution to the world.

Zean Cabangis

Zean Cabangis

Zean Cabangis (b. 1985) graduated from UP CFA with a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Painting in 2007. He was shortlisted for Ateneo Art Awards in 2012 and 2013. Cabangis lives and works in Manila.

Clarence Chun

Image courtesy of the Artist
Clarence Chun

Clarence Chun is a Filipino-Chinese-American contemporary artist who works primarily in painting and drawing. Chun explores the role of painting particularly in the mode of hyperpop-abstraction in building a hybrid language representing the contemporary condition of data saturation, the speed of technological media and cybernetics consciousness, seeing according to the backdrop of cultural migrations and identity flows, while assembling an aesthetic of abstract expressionism, micropop, and digital media.

Chun received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts NY, BFA, Cum Laude at the University of Houston School of Art in Texas, and a Fellowship at Yale University School of Art. He currently lives and works in Manila and Honolulu, Hawaii. Clarence is a Honolulu Museum of Art Artists of Hawaii 2013, John Young Foundation Awardee and Ellen Battell Stoekel Fellow, Yale University. Selected exhibits at National Museum of the Philippines, Ayala Museum Artist Space, Honolulu Museum of Art, The Contemporary Austin, J. Wayne Stark University Galleries, Shore Art Gallery, Blue Star Art Space, Mono8 Gallery, Artery Artist Space, Gallery Big, Blanc Gallery, Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery, West Gallery, Front Gallery - Houston, and Peter Augustus Gallery – Dallas.

August Lyle Espino

Image courtesy of the Artist
August Lyle Espino

Espino studied Fine Arts and has a master's degree in Entrepreneurship. In his artistic odyssey, Espino defies convention by embracing chaos and unraveling the mysteries of creation in reverse. He paints with abandon, letting his instincts guide the brush, and only later discerns the meaning behind the madness.

 

This unorthodox approach allows August to break free from the shackles of his past artistic preferences, bravely confronting the raw expressions that emerge. His palette embraces somber colors, weaving a tapestry of emotions that defy traditional boundaries. Beneath the surface of his bold strokes lies a subtle homage to the stories from films and real life that have shaped his core beliefs and thought processes. These narratives, woven into the fabric of his art, serve as symbols of resilience, hope, and the enduring power of transformation.

 

As the elements coalesce, the canvas becomes a mirror, reflecting the beauty born from chaos, the elegance of transformation, and the profound truth that emerges from embracing change. Espino's art is not just a visual feast; it's a testament to the stories that shape us, the narratives that inspire us, and the beauty that emerges when we dare to see the world through a different lens.

Jonathan Olazo

Jonathan Olazo

Jonathan Olazo (b. 1969, Manila) graduated from the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Fine Arts, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, where he now teaches. He is a recipient of the Grand Prize from the Philippine Association of Printmakers Open Graphic Arts Competition and Exhibition (1987), the Thirteen Artists Awards by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (1994), the Voted Artist of the Year with Roy Halili for Art Manila Newspaper Art Awards (2003), and an artist residency in Fukuoka, Japan by an independent curator, Mizuki Endo (2004). Olazo has had solo and group exhibitions both in local and international spaces, including the Tetra Art Space, Valentine Willie Fine Art in Kuala Lumpur, Manila Contemporary, Now Gallery, the Vargas Museum at UP, the Drawing Room, and Paseo Gallery.

Bernardo Pacquing

Artist portrait courtesy of the Silverlens Galleries
Bernardo Pacquing

Bernardo Pacquing (b. 1967, Tarlac) currently lives in Parañaque City. He studied Editorial Design from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. In 1999, he won the Grand Prize from the Art Association of the Philippines for an Open Art Competition (Painting Non-Representational), and was a recipient of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists Award in 2000. In the same year, he was also given the Freeman Fellowship Grant at Vermont Studio Center in Vermont. Pacquing has shown in both solo and group exhibitions at various local and international venues such as Manila Contemporary, La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore, Osage Gallery Hong Kong, TAKSU Singapore, and Silverlens Gallery.

Carina Santos

Artist portrait courtesy of Everywhere We Shoot
Carina Santos

Carina Santos (b. 1988, Manila) is an artist, writer, and designer. She finished her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in Information Design from Ateneo de Manila University in 2010. She also finished her Master of Research on Art in Theory & Philosophy at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London in 2019. Santos has written numerous articles and contributions for local / international media such as Rogue Magazine, Esquire Philippines, CNN Philippines Life, The Philippine Star, and Warner Music Philippines.

As an artist, Santos had solo and group exhibitions since 2009 at West Gallery, Secret Fresh Gallery, Lightbombs Contemporary (Hong Kong), Silverlens Galleries, Finale Art File, and Blanc Gallery to name a few. She has also participated at the Art Fair Philippines.

Nestor Olarte Vinluan

Nestor Olarte Vinluan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

About the Artists

About the Artist

Andre Baldovino (b. 1985)  is a painter who continuously explores abstraction and its implications vis-a-vis boundaries alongside the human experience. A graduate of the UP College of Fine Arts, he comes from an artistic background from which he continues to expand his skills by tapping into his family histories. Since 2013, Baldovino has joined various group exhibitions in art galleries and museums such as Finale Art File and Gravity Art Space.

Andre Baldovino

Image courtesy of the Artist

Benjie Cabangis (b.1957) graduated with a BFA in painting from the University of the Philippines, College of Fine Arts in 1978. He was visual arts instructor at the Philippine High School for the Arts at the National Arts Center from1978-1980, and served as resource person and lecturer for the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Artists’ Workshop, 1983-1985, and the SEAMEO Project for Archaeology and Fine Arts, 1985. He was chairperson of the Department of Studio Arts from 1993-1998 at the UP College of Fine Arts where he is now a Professor Emeritus.

Cabangis has thirty-one solo exhibitions to date and numerous local and international group exhibitions. He was part of the Philippine representative in Young Art in Asia Now, Hong Kong Arts Center,1980 ; the ASEAN Painting and Photography Exhibition, Indonesia, 1980; Philippine Abstract Art, Alffield Gallery, Hong Kong, 1985; and the ASEAN Travelling Exhibit of Paintings in ASEAN countries, 1988-1989, Cornerstones, Southeast Asian Contemporary Art, the 17th Asian International Art Exhibition, Daejeon , Korea in 2002, the Asean - Japan Fine Arts Colleges Network 2015, Yogyakarta , Indonesia and The Group Exhibition of ASEAN-China Academies of Fine Arts at the Tianjin, China in 2016. In 2015, he attended the Frans Masereel Centrum print residency in Kasterlee, Belgium.

His works can be found in public, private and corporate collections including those at the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, Washington DC, the Philippine Consulate in New York and the Central Bank of the Philippines, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, among others.

He was conferred the UP Gawad Chancellor Award as the University’s Outstanding Visual Artist in 2000. In 1978, the Cultural Center of the Philippines accorded him the Thirteen Artists Award.  He was also a grantee of the Fernando Amorsolo Professorial Chair in Painting in 1992, 1996, 2002 and 2004, the UP Arts Productivity Award in 2014 and the Jose Joya Professorial Chair in 2018.

Cabangis is listed in the 2018 CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, the most authoritative and comprehensive source of information on Philippine art and culture. It is an invaluable record of the Filipinos’ artistic contribution to the world.

Benjie Cabangis

Zean Cabangis (b. 1985) graduated from UP CFA with a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Painting in 2007. He was shortlisted for Ateneo Art Awards in 2012 and 2013. Cabangis lives and works in Manila.

Zean Cabangis

Clarence Chun is a Filipino-Chinese-American contemporary artist who works primarily in painting and drawing. Chun explores the role of painting particularly in the mode of hyperpop-abstraction in building a hybrid language representing the contemporary condition of data saturation, the speed of technological media and cybernetics consciousness, seeing according to the backdrop of cultural migrations and identity flows, while assembling an aesthetic of abstract expressionism, micropop, and digital media.

Chun received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts NY, BFA, Cum Laude at the University of Houston School of Art in Texas, and a Fellowship at Yale University School of Art. He currently lives and works in Manila and Honolulu, Hawaii. Clarence is a Honolulu Museum of Art Artists of Hawaii 2013, John Young Foundation Awardee and Ellen Battell Stoekel Fellow, Yale University. Selected exhibits at National Museum of the Philippines, Ayala Museum Artist Space, Honolulu Museum of Art, The Contemporary Austin, J. Wayne Stark University Galleries, Shore Art Gallery, Blue Star Art Space, Mono8 Gallery, Artery Artist Space, Gallery Big, Blanc Gallery, Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery, West Gallery, Front Gallery - Houston, and Peter Augustus Gallery – Dallas.

Clarence Chun

Image courtesy of the Artist

Espino studied Fine Arts and has a master's degree in Entrepreneurship. In his artistic odyssey, Espino defies convention by embracing chaos and unraveling the mysteries of creation in reverse. He paints with abandon, letting his instincts guide the brush, and only later discerns the meaning behind the madness.

 

This unorthodox approach allows August to break free from the shackles of his past artistic preferences, bravely confronting the raw expressions that emerge. His palette embraces somber colors, weaving a tapestry of emotions that defy traditional boundaries. Beneath the surface of his bold strokes lies a subtle homage to the stories from films and real life that have shaped his core beliefs and thought processes. These narratives, woven into the fabric of his art, serve as symbols of resilience, hope, and the enduring power of transformation.

 

As the elements coalesce, the canvas becomes a mirror, reflecting the beauty born from chaos, the elegance of transformation, and the profound truth that emerges from embracing change. Espino's art is not just a visual feast; it's a testament to the stories that shape us, the narratives that inspire us, and the beauty that emerges when we dare to see the world through a different lens.

August Lyle Espino

Image courtesy of the Artist

Jonathan Olazo (b. 1969, Manila) graduated from the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Fine Arts, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, where he now teaches. He is a recipient of the Grand Prize from the Philippine Association of Printmakers Open Graphic Arts Competition and Exhibition (1987), the Thirteen Artists Awards by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (1994), the Voted Artist of the Year with Roy Halili for Art Manila Newspaper Art Awards (2003), and an artist residency in Fukuoka, Japan by an independent curator, Mizuki Endo (2004). Olazo has had solo and group exhibitions both in local and international spaces, including the Tetra Art Space, Valentine Willie Fine Art in Kuala Lumpur, Manila Contemporary, Now Gallery, the Vargas Museum at UP, the Drawing Room, and Paseo Gallery.

Jonathan Olazo

Bernardo Pacquing (b. 1967, Tarlac) currently lives in Parañaque City. He studied Editorial Design from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. In 1999, he won the Grand Prize from the Art Association of the Philippines for an Open Art Competition (Painting Non-Representational), and was a recipient of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists Award in 2000. In the same year, he was also given the Freeman Fellowship Grant at Vermont Studio Center in Vermont. Pacquing has shown in both solo and group exhibitions at various local and international venues such as Manila Contemporary, La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore, Osage Gallery Hong Kong, TAKSU Singapore, and Silverlens Gallery.

Bernardo Pacquing

Artist portrait courtesy of the Silverlens Galleries

Carina Santos (b. 1988, Manila) is an artist, writer, and designer. She finished her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in Information Design from Ateneo de Manila University in 2010. She also finished her Master of Research on Art in Theory & Philosophy at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London in 2019. Santos has written numerous articles and contributions for local / international media such as Rogue Magazine, Esquire Philippines, CNN Philippines Life, The Philippine Star, and Warner Music Philippines.

As an artist, Santos had solo and group exhibitions since 2009 at West Gallery, Secret Fresh Gallery, Lightbombs Contemporary (Hong Kong), Silverlens Galleries, Finale Art File, and Blanc Gallery to name a few. She has also participated at the Art Fair Philippines.

Carina Santos

Artist portrait courtesy of Everywhere We Shoot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Nestor Olarte Vinluan

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