Tall Tarlac Tales: Recent Works of Herrera, Ramos and Yokte
(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|
|Hand Gesture Series|
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|
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|
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.