23.10.18

Michael Froilan: Painting to Stand Still

BY JAY BAUTISTA |


Day Off
For most artists one’s first solo exhibition is his carefully conceptualized visual statement to a rather complicated contemporary art scene. Like an illustrative shout out, it beams as his coming out party to the world after lurking on group shows after group shows for quite sometime. Countering this usual trend, award winning artist Michael Froilan opts to go reflectively inward this time. Against the artistic tide, he shuns away from political impulses and avoids wallowing deeper into historical occurences. On the other hand, it is form that is his substance, then his statement is his medium. By displaying simplicity of his messages, he is like an old timer with paints.  

The direction of Still Moments seeks to surface/resurface what he is capable of creating; how much of himself can Froilan put up with these recent works. Furthering into melancholia by becoming more reflective, he focuses on his real life situations by reflecting empathy as mood, amplifying it with bareness of space and pausing time in a capsule. The brilliance of Froilan lies how he instills solitude of action, as if the viewer arrived too late or even too early to the scene. Injecting the personal he leaves many clues but no specific answers as he forces the viewer to complete the narrative of his story.

Froilan’s interest lies in simple domesticity of things with minimum action, without any signs of mobility. Commencing with his interior spaces hinting the viewers peeking in, they exist in flat planes placed side by side in voyeuristic cutaway dollhouse motif. Froilan uses interior rooms of his mind at his domesticated abode with his family members and close friends as characters.
As a fine arts graduate of EARIST he is a true contrarian--deconstructing proportion, and artistic perspective. His spaces set the appropriate mood while favoring sparse colors that are not too glossy, yet very natural which gives solitary figures to stand out.

Complex
Consider Complex which is Froilan’s intriguing self portrait. The heirarchy of floors discusses the many facets of his existence. At the ground floor is a landscape painting which represents what he painted at an early age to earn his keep as a painter; the second floor are his classical paintings and portraits reflecting his desire to copy the masters; the lion at the third floor is an epitome of aggression, not the angry kind but his eagerness to achieve his dreams. Froilan is the swimmer reflecting the times he wanted to quit life.  

Continuing his narration is The Dreamer which dwells in the psychological realm of inner life. For Froilan he does not see himself not an artist. He longs to mixing his paints while holding his brushes up high to convey his images on his canvases.

Another creative tactic is how he allows classical paintings to emphasize the moment. They are either decor or devices that amplify the situations. Ranging from his influences from Johannes Vermeer, James Whistler, Peter Paul Rubens, to Claude Monet with the progression situating from Baroque to impressionism. However it is David Hockney, Edward Hopper, or Rene Magritte that he wants the audience to emphatize with at this ongoing moment. Froilan studies even the circumstance or context of which the master has painted.

The Faithful, The Undecided. The Unbeliever.
Woman in White pays tribute to his wife whom he praises to high heavens for being symbol of strength and resiliency but at the same time exudes purity of the spirit and femininity. In fact she is so strong to be alone in her life, without him on his side. Torn pertains to her dual being as a loving wife yet capable of wholeness, void of affection from the other gender. 

Before he took up painting full-time, Froilan and his wife would converse about anything while partaking their favorite wine. When Froilan became in demand as a painter, he saw hiw wife les and less, reasons why she longed for his company. These are evident in the paintings I’ll be Seeing You and In the Presence of Absence where one can almost feel her longing for him. One feels the isolation and being disconnected. In his desire to make up for his loss, Froilan churn these out and let her know his shortcomings making him less guilty in return. 

With the presence of flames, Space Between Us evokes tension to viewing audience. The existential complimentary nature of man and woman  persists that one cannot survive without the other. As conflicts may arise, as seen in the two stairs on the sides, in the end they mend and reunite to one another. One loves because one needs.

The ongoing Sao Paulo Biennial has discarded well-worn themes and usual revolutionary ideas in guiding their artist-curators on what to exhibit. Rather it prioritizes on feelings and emotional response of viewers in generating attendance in the sixty seven year old world’s second oldest biennial after Venice. Froilan has paralleled his masterpieces with this premise that art must seek emotional response rather than be high brow rhetoric. Art must make you feel foremost. 

In music, rests is as important as notes in constructing musical composition. In fact, the silent notes are oftentimes more deafening yet their significance as loud as notes connote. Froilan has painted what seems to be restful in both space and time we are all familiar with. For art is capable of presenting what life is cannot.      
 
In the Presence of Absence

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