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June 26, 2012

Paintings By Geraldine Javier at the Silverlens Gallery

Geraldine Javier is widely known in Southeast Asia and beyond as a master of the uncanny and the strangely disturbing. Her exquisite and masterful paintings play on the allure and beauty of a darker side of experience.

Over the years, the artist’s paintings have become increasingly layered and complex, not only in content and imagery but also through physical textures, as she began incorporating 3-dimensional craft-based elements in her canvases. Looking back, works such as Mother and Child (2007) - where a portrait of a Luzon Bleeding-Heart Pigeon framed in silver was set against the heavy backdrop of a woman's dress; and Arrangement in Grey and Black (2008) - metallic plates adorned with pretty patterns and images of seashells, beetles, and a singing blackbird are “hung” in the painted background, are among early evidences that displayed this tendency.

Since then, it would not be unusual to find framed insects and embroidered images of flora and fauna embedded in Ms. Javier’s canvas, or strands of tatting concealing painted images like foliage in the woods. Straddling the 2-dimensional and 3- dimensional realm, her works would develop further and take on interesting 3- dimensional turns as exemplified in recent solo exhibitions: Always Wild, Still Wild (2011) in Manila and later, Museum of Many Things (2011) in Singapore. In Manila, the artist presented a “hammock” installation The Tree in Me (2011) made from tatting and an embroidered self-portrait as the centrepiece of her show, while 3-d objects and vitrines became the highlight in Singapore. As Ms. Javier prepares her latest project in 20SQ entitled Red Fights Back, a work in progress, we chatted over email about the recent developments as well as her new spin on the beloved fairly tale Little Red Riding Hood as her own way to empower Little Red.

Adel ine Ooi (AO) : Can you tel l us about what you are trying to do with Red Fights Back in 20SQ? Is this an instal lat ion or a set? This would be the f i rst t ime that you work involves such serious audience part icipat ion, in that your audience wi l l l i teral ly be stepping into your world, so to speak. Can we see this as a new step forward, that you are moving in an uncharted territory and st i l l in the process f iguring out the next phase of your pract ice?.

Geraldine Javier (GJ): In Red Fights Back, I'm using a scene from the story Little Red Riding Hood where Little Red encounters the Wolf on her way to Grandmother's place. I see 20SQ as my interactive life size vitrine - a follow up work from my solo show last year in Singapore, Museum of Many Things. Here, instead of a basket of flowers and goodies for Grandma, Red has weapons - a wooden sword, an axe, a spear, a snake staff, slingshot and stones - to defend herself against predators and other dangers lurking in the forest. It's an installation when Red is not around, but it becomes a set when someone decides to step in, put on the cape and take the role of Red.

This installation/set is only the beginning; I can see the objects here in 20SQ take on different “lives” and develop further. For instance, I plan to use the objects in a photography project with a different theme (from this show). Maybe it's also the pragmatic in me that dictates my work process; I want to indulge and make works for the fun of it and because I can, but I have to think of ways of reusing and transforming the pieces I make into different artworks. I hate to make installations for art's sake and then chuck the objects once the show is done.

Contact Details:
For inquiries, please call (63 2) 816-0044, 0917-587-4011 or email
Silverlens Gallery
Pasong Tamo Ext.

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

Thursday June 28, 2012 - Saturday July 21, 2012

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