24.3.17

J.A. Santos: Her Loaded Camera

BY JAY BAUTISTA |


First of two parts

Where the Streets Have No Name


Review of If You See Something,

Say Something by J.A. Santos 

and Little Wing Luna

Oarhouse Pub in Malate Manila 

December 2016-February 2017



 
It is not your usual art exhibition to start with. Photography, by two women, and held in a bar. Although a popular one, frequented by photographers and youth alike. Typical place that Tony Bourdain discreetly chooses when he come visits.

Though the New York-theme was a dangling come on, for their second joint show, it was a conscious, even a conspicuous plan for J.A. Santos and Little Wing Luna: To meet up in New York on the summer of July and shoot scenes/sins from the famous city--the New York moment so to speak.


At a glance, one notices how parallel their lives are. The ones that they bring to their stories both being freelance photojournalists. 



Santos as a seasoned traveler, almost the native Nuyorker who regularly visits her extended family. Luna, on the other hand, comes to the Big Apple for the first time. While Santos opted for color and above the streets Luna digs deeper into the long and longing subway culture. While Santos experiences the hustle and bustle, the dynamism of the streets; Luna dwells within the murky lurid quagmire and monotonous and excruciating life of daily commuting.

 
Travel writer and columnist A.A. Gil was in his usual snootiness when describing New York: It is a club you have been a member for a long time. It is the stage of our collective dramas. You can hate America but love New York. New York is not related at all with her.
 
“When you are visitor to a city you like to hurry up the habits, lay down a pattern, gain predictability in place of roots.” added the late columnist adds. 


Embracing multiculturalism is one of the best things New York has to offer. In fact recent study Queens for its size has one of the diverse places on earth in terms of language, has in fact 800 languages. All the more makes every photographer attend to its unexpected details.


JA Santos: Her Loaded Camera 

Starting late in High School from her teacher who only taught her the basics, Santos liked what she called the “magical” process of the craft. Though Santos did not completely pursue photography then, due to the cost of printing it, he was happy with her point and shoot camera.



008

She explains further: Using a camera as a creative tool was a way to explore and discover not just life, scenes, and stories around me but also aspects of my inner self that I had neglected for years — a way to grapple with things outside of me and deep within and develop my ways of seeing, reading, reacting to, and interpreting various aspects of culture and society. 



Without formal training Santos continued to pursue photography in the streets for it being light inexpensive, and spontaneity. Open to discovery, one must have the curiosity and patience to see something interesting or unexpected. In the streets one has to be fast for that spur-of the-moment frames. Quick and skillful enough in capturing capture it.
014

Santos is versed on how to layer contrasting textures furthering the dialogue that emits the viewer. Photo 008 depicts the weariness of a lady against the window as backdrop showcasing an artificial plethora of what America has to offer. Her sharp features wrought with anxiety exude tension alarming what may possibly disturb what was supposed to be conventional pleasantness of a picture. Photo 014 continues the uneasiness this time counterpointing black female with white male vis-à-vis the signage Time in Style. The witty play in images something only a versed photojournalist can execute. In describing how she finds such coincidence sharing the frame. 




While my first love in photography is the genre of candid street photography,” Santos explains further, “I have work that overlaps or merges into art, social commentary, and documentary photography/photojournalism.” 



009

Her favored subject of juxtaposing the old and the new is once again exemplified in Photo 009. A vandalized red antique lamppost partly hides a millennial boy in yellow. Such simplicity easily results in loaded interpretations. One assumes partly as a voyeur, partly interrogator inquiring further about the situation at hand, of what is about to happen. Santos leaves much to her viewers, as much to her subjects. This is how Santos behaves in her shoots: she is a few moments before what other photographers will grapple with.
 
045

Santos often indulges in hints and accents such as that omnipresent blue sky as reflected on the building in Photo 045. Again Santos leaves much of the mystery to be noticed. Her readiness is she is a step before what others will find the standard image. With respect and indulgence as seen in that boy being enveloped like a matador by the gushing afternoon breeze, Photo 012 is like a few minutes before the actual take when the cameras roll action. Santos genius catches this.


Married to graphic and book designer Jordan, both have Santos prefers shooting alone. One must be comfortable with spending long hours in solitude if one would want to pursue street photography.

On the other hand, collaboration and solidarity are also vital to her activities, which is why having a joint-exhibit with a photographer friend and showing work to and being with other artists, photographers, and photojournalists are also enlightening experiences for her.

012

“When I rediscovered photography in 2010, I was more familiar with the work of painters and other artists, not photographers. So probably some of my visual influences are artists whose work I’ve admired over the years such as Matisse, Caravaggio, Rene Magritte, Edward Hopper and the films of Krzysztof Kieslowski, Wong Kar-wai, Akira Kurosawa, and other directors. Later, when I began to actively research and read about photography, I would gravitate toward the work of Robert Frank, Alex Webb, William Albert Allard, William Eggleston, Garry Winogrand, David Alan Harvey, Duane Michals, Nan Goldin, and Philip Jones Griffiths, among others,” explains Santos on her influences.  



022




Even the theme of love never escapes an intended pun for Santos. As their turn their backs to the viewer Photo 022 emphasizes what the sign on the upper right signage: collect what you love. It seems the man patiently waits for her ladylove to choose among the array of books being sold. Or was she just bidding time?


Santos has always been fascinated with the everyday and the mundane such as work and daily activities, commuting, habits, gestures, manners, signs, texts, and objects which she expresses reveal much about our society, culture, politics, traditions, institutions, and the systems in which we operate and which have a profound influence on our lives. She has even dealt with complex and current political issues such as mental illness displaced communities to street protests to the changes that cities undergo. 
 
Santos only needs four colors to interpret the world with just a loaded camera in hand.

17.2.17

Vision Petron: Fifteen Artists for the First Fifteen


BY JAY BAUTISTA |


It’s that intangible quality in a painting, a quality so distinct, so unique that onlookers would say, ‘Now that’s a Filipino painting!’

Arturo Luz, 1953


A recent study conducted by the University of Oxford concluded that it is neither class nor status that makes one an artist. Rather it is in the manner one is educated that inspires him; how conducive his community influences him that enables his thoughts and feelings expressed on canvas or paper and create value in art. 
When Vision Petron National Student Art Competition (formerly called ArtPetron) was conceptualized 15 years ago, its sole desire was to inspire the next generation of painters to hone their art, excel and n the process, rediscover and appreciate Filipino culture, the long-time advocacy of Petron. While other existing art contests catered only to fine arts students, Vision Petron opened the opportunity to all college students and those enrolled in a museum-based art classes believing that creativity is not exclusively confined in artist studios and the academe. Petron thus positioned itself as an art patron of the talented youth.


In the course of running the contest we have been witness to some young artists who have shown promise at the onset of their soon-to-be flourishing careers. Here are fifteen of our best painters who we had the privileged of seeing them break their first light in art.    

El Viaje Familoia by John Paul Antido
JOHN PAUL ANTIDO (b.1982)

John Paul Antido is a hall famer having won in 2002 and 2005. A member of Antipolo-based Sanviaje Japs has a peculiar style of painting which is done by impasto technique laying thick paint with finite textured brushstrokes using vivid colors with light hues. With five solo exhibitions travelling has been his constant theme. He has also done illustrations for a children’s book and lately he has dabbled photographer where portraiture is his forte. His paintings were recently featured in a children’s book.


ROBERT BESANA (b.1976)

Manwal by Robert Besana
One of our first grandprize winner in 2001, Besana has always investigated the contemporary possibilities of materiality and perception. His winning work Manwal makes the viewers rotate their gaze as he captures children play a game of slippers giving this a unique perspective. He is now a director at the School of Multi-Media Arts at the Asia Pacific College where he is respected and has proven the best teachers of art are those that actively practice it.



CHARLES BUENCONSEJO (b. 1984)
Multi-media preoccupies Buenconsejo’s work while employing his deep foundation for photography where he was first recognized being first hall of fame in this category. He has won the Ateneo Art Awards two consecutive years and has done residencies in Visual Arts Center in La Trobe University in Australia. His art was shown in his solo exhibitions such as Unending Void, Destination Unknown, and Reality is a Hologram is infused with his inquiries on science. Sometimes to question is enough response. 
Children of the Fields by Charles Buenconsejo














 JOEY COBCOBO (b.1983)
The call of the indigenous is intrinsic to Cobcobo who come from a lineage of Ifugao wood carvers in the north. He has rediscovered his technique by employing a multiple layer of images done thou various media done in heavily indented prints. His subject matter pays homage of his tribal roots to the personal relationships we Filipinos value like our elderly and families. A CCP 13 Artists Awardee he now teaches in his alma mater Technological University of the Philippines.


                                                                   MARK ANDY GARCIA (b.1984)
Punong Puno ng Pag-ibig by Mark Andy Garcia
A graduate of Technological University of the Philippines, Mark Andy Garcia has won three runners up and a grand prize win. A recent CCP 13 Artists Awardee for 2015, he won grandprize in Metrobank Art and Design Excellence in 2007 and Juror’s Choice Award of Excellence for Philip Morris in 2008. Garcia paints autobiographical works bordering on his personal tragedies and joys despite the ruggedness and the raw texture of his works Garcia remains optimistic in his process, a kind of salvation Garcia wants us all to have.

FLORENTINO IMPAS (b. 1970)
What make Vision Petron unique is it is open also to students of museum-based painting classes where we discovered homegrown talents like Florentino Jun Impas. One of Cebu’s most sought after artist. He is also portraitist of choice of cardinals, bishops and has even been invited to the Vatican for a sit down with the religious there. Impas has done the official portrait of St. Lorenzo Ruiz of what we all are familiar with. He had significant solo exhibitions at the SM Art Center in 2009- “Portraits and Figures” and 2011- “Circle of Life”, Metropolitan Museum of Manila and 2014- “Kalendaryo Festival”, SM Art Center, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City. This year he participated in painting Art and Anthropology at the Chicago Field Museum Mural Painting “Art ad Antropology” in the United States of America.
JEFFREY SALON (b. 1986)
Salon is a hall of famer having won in 2005 and 2010. Mark by his own realism and monotone palette, Salon is old school with his palette focusing on children and their plight and welfare. He has had solo exhibitions at the SM Art Center, Nineveh Art space and Singapore. He won in Sining PSE National Art Competition and the Miguel Malvar National Art Competition.
 
MARK SALVATUS (b. 1980)
Balwarte ni Lolo, Aming Munting Kastilyo by Mark Salvatus
Even when he joined ArtPetron and submitting wall bound paintings, Salvatus was always one step ahead of his contemporaries. For his winning piece in ArtPetron 2 he used red car paint Salvatus won the most white he etched with a white primary base his figures to come up with a toned down but still celebratory image of the Pahiyas from his hometown in Lucban. Always on the experiment for new technologies to debunk old myths found in history or even memory, he now and then gets to be invited in biennales and residencies while keeping his focus on his contemporary practice here. A product of UST Fine Arts where he taught for a time, Salvatus is a CCP 13 Artists Awardee and runs his art collective 98B virtually or wherever he is. 
ARTURO SANCHEZ (b. 1980)
Sanchez is proof that someone so technical can be the most artistic. Sanchez took up architecture at the Technological Institute of the Philippines. Mirrors have always fascinated Sanchez in fact his pieces are meticulously done by etching selected magazine images to reflect his art on the mirror. Based in the art town of two national artists, Sanchez has exhibited in local galleries and his artworks have participated in the auction houses in Hong Kong and Singapore. He won the Grand prize Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards 2013.
Market in Motion by Paul Quiambao
 CJ DE SILVA-ONG (b. 1987)
De Silva-Ong is a graduate of UP Diliman College of Fine Arts and award winning creative director at TBWA\Digital Arts Network. Right after graduating, she handling brands where she has been recognized in local and international shows: she has won in AdFest, Spikes Asia, One Show, D&AD and is part of the team that bagged the country's first Webby.

CJ is also a well-known painter. Versatile in her own illustration, her book covers for Sen Miriam Santiago “Stupid is Forever” have recently been lauded.


Ober Ober by Orley Ypon
RONALD JERESANO (b. 1984)
Social realism served its artistic purpose the turbulent times during Martial Law. With its strong political content the movement’s aesthetics revolves around anatomies of people as allegories to the dark perils of our country. Jeresano is a proud heir to social realism as his images speak of  our emancipation as a nation. He has won other major art competition and had solo exhibitions locally and abroad. 
RAFFY NAPAY (b. 1986)
From two-dimensional works, EARIST graduate Napay shifted into threads and fabrics into his canvases. Often dealing with his personal life, he stitches, tufts and weaves stories from memory. He has won in Metrobank Arts and Design Excellence, Ateneo Art Awards 2013. He had artist residencies in Artesan Gallery and Studio in Singapore in 2013 and Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool United Kingdom last year. He just attended the Florence Biennale in Italy. 
JAMES ONA (b. 1986)
Tulay ng Kalakalan at Hanap Buhay by James Ona
Despite the surplus of the DSLR cameras it takes an amount of time and dedication for a master lensman to emerge. Trained as a photojournalist in his alma mater PUP Manila, Ona would eventually cover more important events for his corporate clients. He does art photography for Studio 5 Designs coffee table book projects. He continues to work and teach for PUP Manila.

PAUL QUIAMBAO (b. 1991)
There are only three photographers in this list Quiambao is the one who seeks to elevate photography the most into an art form it rightfully deserves. School spirit runs deep for him UST in particular where he graduated with a degree in architecture. With his loyalty and perseverance Quiambao has been bestowed as UST’s quadricentennial photographer during its celebration in 2011. Motion and depth best describe his images. Remote islands has of late fascinated him most specially Batanes which he has visited many times over and he has photographed extensively.

ORLEY YPON (b.1973)
When Ypon won in the first ArtPetron in 2001 National Artist Napoleon Abueva commented that “he has Amorsolo’s light.” Based in Cebu, Orley is one of ArtPetron’s first grand prize winners and our first hall of famer for painting. A self-taught artist, realism has been Ypon’s trademark having been influenced by the master Martin Abellana. He has had an art residency last year at the Artist Renewal Center in New York. Our first hall of famer in Painting Ypon has come full circle as was our judge in the recent and previous Vision Petron. His first solo exhibition Bidlisiw (
-->sunrise) at the Altro Mondo Gallery is still ongoing. 

27.12.16

Jared Yokte: Art In the Era of the One Percent

BY JAY BAUTISTA |


TALL TARLAC TALES: RECENT WORKS OF HERRERA, RAMOS, AND YOKTE


(Last of Three parts)


Some 60 illustrations representing Hayop are situated as walls in a frame by frame presentation greets the viewer. A recurring scene for Yokte who has lived in vibrant cultural cities of Davao, Vigan and now based in Tarlac. An allegory of the archrivals dogs and cats, Yokte often witnesses the fight between them. How the dog would and could defeat the cat as many ways as to skin it. How the dog always wins not by the show of force but by outsmarting it. Done in firm impressionist inkblots these sketches documents for Yokte certain outdoor behavior and inherent character of each domestic creature. Only artists like Yokte can see beauty in the ordinary squabble as such. Painters Ang Kiukok, Danny Dalena, and Onib Olmedo have immortalized daily occurrence as such dogs and cats before him.


In his book Art Power (2009) art critic Boris Groys presents that art either as commodity in the art market or as a political tool for the realization of a vision for the people. Much of what are is produced today is for the galleries and commission-based auction. Not many are producing artworks for the maturity of our consciousness, or expressions of our dreams and aspirations.

Yokte applies his realist language to an installation work Those Leading a happy Life and Those Fighting a Battle to Survive Have Many Things in Common, some 120 figurines are cast in resin. In whatever situation or class you are in life, everyone is fighting their own some kind of battle. As humans we are expected to be kinder than necessary. Showing how humanity can be configured added to the visual impact of the multitude in the curation is commendable.    

Groys defines new Realism as reality as the sum of necessitates and constraints that do not allow us to do what we would like to do or to live as we would like to live. Art manifests what is often lacking in society. Compared to other community of artists who practiced outside Manila like Angono, Bulacan, Iloilo, and Cebu, to be an artist in Tarlac is doubly discriminated by the lack of government support for the arts and the need for private initiatives for legitimate arts paces to showcase art.


Bukal is a kind of revenge against all these mundane circumstances surrounding these artists. Herrera, Ramos and Yokte are stating their artistic claim to survive for other fellow Tarlac artists and the belief that there is such a person. As Bukal presents what is lacking or not normally found in the current contemporary art scene, their art may not match your décor in your living room. They disturb your peace and enable you to appreciate art on a higher social context.

So the next time you come to Tarlac you will stay a little longer. 

23.11.16

Fernando Ramos: As Ethereal as Painting

BY JAY BAUTISTA

Tall Tarlac Tales: Recent Works of Herrera, Ramos and Yokte

(Second of Three Parts)
 

Mind Disaster
Fernando Ramos has dealt with his everyday musings in the most ethereal manner. Through his visual style as evident in these recent works, he skims through various stories applying appropriate metaphors in them.   
Done in vertical monolith they are equally divided into two parts. The upper portion the materiality dictates whatever mood Ramos is in depending on what he perceives. Ramos believes artists were blessed with talents as they have a responsibility to perform in society. Facilitating texture he uses palette knife and rodela enabling every stroke as different like the different days where Ramos worked on his pieces. These pieces appear to be more durable, almost rendered in a dream that only Ramos can comprehend their symbolical meanings; combining figurative with his abstraction.

His paintings are also sensuous variations of collective narratives, memories and dreams. Veering to the contemplative, each color contemplates on hindrances and trials. The fascination in metal-like ground and surface in his works is evident, rusted and stained in time. It is metaphorical depiction of this world we live in is paralleled to a slowly decaying, human body that is deteriorating and will turn back into nature’s dust--our ashes.
Her Music Lives On


Her Music Lives On Series are tributes to a departed mother, musician, artist and  friend. Though her life ended, she still remains to be an inspiration among people who shared her life with. Her existence is a symbolical representation of freedom, happiness and beauty. The combination of flower petals, piano keys, umbrella, sunrise and her silhouette narrates who she is. Her music lives on as her spirit continued to guiding Ramos of becoming a great person and artist.

Similar to Herrera, Ramos favors using that circular motion going on and depending on it could mean often equated with the ongoing struggle as an artist. Ramos often uses that circular motion going on which could represent the and depending on it could mean often equated with. Ramos themes run through the autobiographical and the social repercussions marked by constant interaction with people he interacts.

A Ramos canvas usually starts with dots, endless point by point rendition displaying persistence and insistence of something must be done. The swirling circular lines with modeling paste with course. Then color form figure. Ramos strength is his being a colorist often associating them with the emotions of his subjects. Staples are red, oranges, metallic gold and silver.

Cyber Magdalene Series is a black and white depiction of a new trending way of life among prostitutes. It’s the women's anatomy that spoils man's eye as they sell their naked bodies online a picture of immorality and moral degradation among women making this easy money making job.   

An old favorite theme of Ramos is clowns as in The Entertainer Series. These are portraits of a woman who chose to be an entertainer like a clown that is capable of playing one's emotion. Imparting short moment of happiness to people and sometimes selling their own flesh in exchange of money, behind those smiles concealed the loneliness they felt inside their heart. Some people consider them scented rags as plague of society--sharing their addictive beauty among men who are teased by their smell like a wild flower.

Always the hopeful as seen in the silver aluminum strings, Ramos believes in second chances and that we should make do of what we have before everything is gone. The Last String Series are about man's loneliest days spent with his strings. His chords longs for serendipity. A narrative of love and despair, music is played though there is coldness of his voice whispered in the inevitable. Though his last strings he is saving his high hopes that one day will find another reason to love and stay.

Starting with a study or a just a sketch Ramos builds up rhythm like a seasoned jazz player, he improvises yet digs in deeper, straining his modeling paste-in-sand combination. He then fixes silver or gold adding glow to the under paint most likely after he stains the metal layer of his composition. The hardest part is the layering and coursing with texture.

Whether he renders realist strokes or veers into abstraction transparency of forms and solidity of shapes define the quintessential Ramos. Often employing rhythm and harmony in texture his dimensions draws a thin line in between softness and harshness of rendition yet they carefully controlled and it varies in a certain points to another simply not because they are nice to look at but because they are conceived to do so.   
Burn Out Series
Burn out Series is a combination of rusty and golden color. Our naïve minds become filthy because of constant exposure to struggles in life. No matter how brilliant we are we have our limitations. These series are the most evocative, a picture of psychological stress, haunted by man’s emotional and mental exhaustion.it reflects the feeling of failure to gain balance resulting to a total wreck and havoc on human health. A burning fire of consistent depression and destruction that disturbs human brain, it is a portrait of a human condition suffering from getting emotionally tired and numb.

Not all are serious and political for Ramos. As one becomes hardened through time as seen in the stone finish, one still clings to that someone as seen in Hopeless Romantic Series. It narrates man's voiceless inner self, unable to express what and how he feels. He often imagines that he plays a saxophone and serenading. his music pampers visual imagery of his ideal woman—a life live in world of fantasy and a sound of romance indulge within his imagination. Rose petals add mush to the already decorated setting.
Hopeless Romantic Series
His paintings are also sensuous variations of collective narratives, memories and dreams. The fascination in metal-like ground and surface in his works is evident, rusted and stained in time. It is metaphorical depiction of this world we live in is paralleled to a slowly decaying, human body that is deteriorating and will turn back into nature’s dust--our ashes.


Ramos moves freely inside the painting as he probes his inner self and explore contours and variations of colors, paraphrasing the world and beyond in less fanciful embellishment or distortion.

11.11.16

Judeo Herrera: Pain, Pleasure and Punditry


Tall Tarlac Tales: Recent Works of Herrera, Ramos and Yokte
Jay Bautista

(First of three parts) 
Ginintuang Pangarap Series

Among the proud eight rays of the Philippine sun in our flag Tarlac has always been at the forefront of our socio-political and economic history. With its strategic geographic location it is now has a unique place given the expressways and nearness to Clark, which is projected to be a bustling green city of the future.

Most of the time Tarlac is simply relegated as a mere stopover to eat or take a leak on your way up to the North; for most people it is that long stretch of McArthur Hi-way or mostly Hacienda Luisita. Despite the concrete structures, dams and floodway dikes, the city is bland as the lahar desert remnant of the Mt. Pinatubo fury of 1991. Compared to nearby provinces Tarlac has more artists and practitioners than all the artists in the north combined. Having the only fine arts institution, it is also home to award winning artists and art practitioners. Yet it is void of art spaces as venues of the art reflecting the soul of its community.


With the bareness of the physical and cultural landscape the disparity in life can be from within. This is where Bukal intervenes as it deems to create that critical dialogue of what is Tarlac for those who wish to be part of the conversation. Bukal meaning “boiling or in the verge of something,” in the local parlance, three artists step up the plate and offer some of the purest and relevance expressions emanating here.

Judeo Herrera: Pain, Pleasure and Punditry

Anatomy has always been the true test for an artist; how well versed he draws parts of the human body to every viewer’s appreciation or fellow artists’ respect. How he uses this skill to his advantage marks his brilliance. Judeo Herrera could have easily given to the lure of enticing erotica or commercial portraiture to his advantage however he chose to paint only the essentials—face, arms and limb--contextualizing them in a quagmire of fiery pegs against the repeating cycle of poverty of the spirit. With these images he captures the purest emotions in a visual style simulating the figurative with the textured abstract.

No Way Out
One could easily get unease or even slighted in Herrera pieces. In his Bukal Series, he focused on the face as the foreground of deep sadness, anger and anguish. For Herrera knows his timing and rhythm well like a director on cue he captures the moment, the turning point his subjects who at the brink of emotion, at the brim of madness and frustration in a fitting release. Without beginning or end we are led to a hypnotic whirlpool of desperation in Lulong, anxiety in Aaahh and even eminent death 
such as  


Hand Gesture Series
Huling Hantungan. No Way Out is a brutal climax that initiated from isolation and rootlessness. How the eyes shut by instinct with the hand shaped liked a gun pointed at one’s crown of consciousness. Even without sound one could hear the wailing of this hapless mother in Tama na, Sobra Na.  

Herrera starts by creating his textured base. The endless swirl of the background it is the abstraction that dictates the emotion. The intensity of his swirl, against banality of stainless gray of one’s soul, there is no beginning and ending, one could get tangled in deeply rooted helplessness.  

His brilliance lies in his astounding compositions and color combination he aptly calls the colorless soul. The colorless soul is Herrera’s take on how inner being responds to challenges. What emanates is a bluish flesh-and-bone belief of no local color. Despite the prevalence of hyperrealism Herrera abhors soft peach-like skin choosing to do it on his own steel-like colors connoting toughness and fearless numbed by what life throws at us. 

Tama Na, Sobra Na
Evoking bluish in hue a sense of solitude and serenity suggesting inner emotions, Herrera expresses his ideas and narratives in his use of figures and matching textures and gestural strokes. The warm fiery colors in the background suggest intense burning sensations, waiting and wanting to burst out.   

Honed by continuous craft and versed with experience among his art students, Herrera commands respect. If Bukal Series is pure angst then Ginintuang Panaginip Series sooth the tired battered spirit. It is Herrera’s song of redemption the calming effect exudes of better things to come. For simple folks living in the province sleep could represent many things, it is a fitting reward after a hard day’s work. It could be the act of dreaming something big. When one is golden it could mean of value.




Ginintuang Pangarap Series
For Herrera sleep is a temporary refuge and a way to momentarily escape life’s reality. One’s sleep is a blessing for we have equanimity when we are able to reset our body for the next day’s offering. We envy an infant's slumber which is a golden moment where there are no complications of the world around him. Our aspirations are often our dreams and in this refuge we somehow experience our heart's desire, yearning for that volatile false euphoria.

The intensity of his swirl is again reflected against banality in Hand Gesture Series.
Without uttering a word, even in its minutest detail, gestures convey the message in its fullest form. Certain movements suggest specific emotions. The sense of touch has a very strong psychological power that it directly impact our feelings; it can suggest a variety of sensation like a simple tap on the shoulder that tells you “well done” ; a warm hug that tells you “ I care”; an open palm that suggests “I need help” and many other. In fact the clenched fist showing solidarity has helped our current president simplify his cause for the needs of the Filipino people.   

Bukal is ongoing at the Museo ng Probinsya ng Tarlac.