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April 19, 2012

Jonathan Ching and At Maculangan’s tandem exhibition

Jonathan Ching and At Maculangan’s tandem exhibition, ‘As Is, Where Is’, takes off from what is common and obvious as a backdrop for the more hidden and out-of-sight processes in painting.

The term ‘As Is, Where Is’ does not necessarily translate into ‘What you see is what you get’, it is actually a safeguard against implied warranties from conditions, which may or may not be readily apparent. Both artists work with photographic images as a base for their paintings, insinuating the possibility of covert operations beneath the veneer of familiarity in pictures.


‘As Is, Where Is’ is the third edition of Postlocal, Silverlens’ annual painting exhibition, which was launched two years ago as a response to the question, ‘What does contemporary Filipino art look like?’ By linking diverse artists and practices, it seeks to find the commonality amidst the ‘underlying independence of each artist from each other’. Specifically Postlocal looks at figurative and image-based painting, which is the most dominant mode of picture-making in the country.


Previous Postlocal shows have brought together the paintings of Bruihn, Nona Garcia and Anna Varona in an investigation of classicism and color (2010); and Pow Martinez, Gaston Damag and Lynyrd Paras’ various takes on identity and portraiture (2011). This year’s pairing of Jonathan Ching and At Maculangan adds to the roster, tackling particular aspects of photo-derivative painting.


Jonathan Ching’s paintings are made from a collage of photographs taken from print magazines and various sites in the Internet. He studied at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts and is part of a generation of artists from UP whose works are informed by mass media. Their more conceptual training focused on how meaning is created and deconstructed through the appropriation of pre-existing imagery, juxtaposing them to create varied associations and new readings from readymade sources. While collage operates on chance and randomness, Ching’s selection of images appear orchestrated. Dim, musty interiors and furniture from another time, vintage shoes with missing pairs, an iconic shot of Jacqueline Onassis falling off a horse ? the romanticism and nostalgia of these images are further emphasized by hammered copper objects attached onto the paintings. Creating another layer of physicality and meaning in the works, the copper angel’s wings, feather, and shark’s jaw are almost like Victorian curiosities preserved in a sheath of oils.

At Maculangan similarly uses figurative imagery as a point of departure for his paintings. He studied Painting in the University of Sto. Tomas, and his earlier works were often abstract expressive paintings. His practice since then has expanded to experimental film, performance and more recently photography. For his latest works, he uses black and white photographs of a pin-up girl, along with an actual paper target with concentric rings of primary colors, to articulate primordial concepts of illusion and desire, which are very much ingrained in the practice of studio photography. Working particularly with paired panels, he likens his paintings to an ‘open book’, from which we can deduce our own narratives. He builds up layers on his figures by adding more abstract patterns, letters, and words that function both as text and sound. On one painting, a cursive ‘L’ is placed on top of the centerfold model; on another work, a bold ‘OM’ figures in a balloon emerging from the target. These spontaneous utterances are rendered in loose, transparent and uneven brushwork - subconscious metaphors for the creative act.

Much of the photographic paintings that are in vogue today are more or less direct copies of their sources, with the emphasis placed on the seamlessness and flatness of the surface, as if it was a sheet of photo paper. Little is invested by the artist except perhaps for the choice of image to copy, and the fastidiousness of the technique that has long been perfected by the camera itself. Ching and Maculangan both break away from this highly conventional type of representation by infusing materiality, tangibility and body, with all its inherent characteristics and flaws, into the otherwise virtual space of photography and images.

POSTLOCAL 2012: As Is, Where Is by At Maculangan and Jonathan Ching opens on 19 April, Thursday simultaneously with Inventory by MM Yu and EMPIRE by Costantino Zicarelli in Silverlens Galleries.

In conjunction with this show, there will be a Creative Photo Shoot on 12 May, Saturday, 3 pm at Silverlens Galleries.

Contact Details:
For inquiries, contact Silverlens Galleries at (63 2) 816-0044, (63 917) 587-4011 or email: manage@silverlensphoto.com.
Schedule/Venue
Silverlens Gallery
Pasong Tamo Ext.

YMC Bldg.
2320 Pasong Tamo Ext.
Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines


Thursday April 19, 2012 - Saturday May 19, 2012

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