True to its reputation as the largest art fair in the country, ManilArt brought together some of the biggest and most prominent names in visual art as well as artists who are lesser known yet still as captivating. Being greeted at the entrance with a piece on one of the biggest social issues this year, the Torre de Manila and Rizal Monument debacle and its subsequent “deconstruction” by Bonifacio Juan, set the tone for raising the Philippine colors to the world stage alongside works by international artists from the Bruno global art collective.
As with every year, it was easy to be at a loss for favorite pieces given the surplus of talent in attendance at the fair. Here are our top picks.
An Israeli-born post pop artist, Gerstein’s career as a visual artist began as an illustrator for children’s books. Educated in Paris, New York and London, he eventually moved from illustration to painting and finally to sculptures. His work is now characterized by his use of bold colors on pieces of cut-out steel.
A unique take on silkscreen, Fazzino’s work is most definitely signature with its three dimensional pop art approach to the pieces. Fazzino’s impressive client list includes the NFL, the Grammy’s, the Daytime Emmy Awards, the US Olympic Committee, and the JFK International Airport, just to name a few.
Using the bones of animals from her family’s farm, Gomez’s intricately carved tributes on the skulls of the animals are striking and demand a closer look at the skill, artistry and story behind the pieces. Juxtaposed with the bright pop art paintings that peppered the fair made Gomez’s work all the more intriguing.
A graduate of the Fine Arts program of the University of the Philippines, Abrigo’s work has already garnered local acclaim and has been exhibited abroad. He has been lauded as one of the most promising artists of his generation, and one only has to look at his pieces to understand why.
Having grown up around art and artists thanks to his father’s gallery in Ermita, Manila, Pazcoguin’s work is a constantly shifting narrative of the struggles and states of mind that he focuses on. He is constantly exploring various media, which makes him a very interesting artists to watch.
Shifting from mixed media paintings to a mixed media sculpture for ManilArt, Guiruela’s ironic “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” statement juxtaposed with a piece that depicts the harsh reality of life in the shanties that litter the topography of the Philippines forced fair attendees to stop, marvel, and consider its weight.
Mamalio, a painter and sculptor who utilizes bronze, diestone, bonded marble, cold-cast bronze and other materials in his pieces. His work includes monuments that encapsulate a location’s spirit; his work can be found in Lingayen, Rosales, and Urdaneta City.
The paintings of the late internationally acclaimed and National Artist nominee Alcuaz met the work of award-winning Filipino sculptor Castrillo in an artist interaction aptly titled “Two Titans.” Castrillo’s framing and extension of shapes from Alcuaz’s work breathed a new dimension to the late painter’s work, the bronze working in stark yet strangely complimentary contrast to the pieces.
What were your favorite pieces from ManilArt 2015? Sound off in the comments below!