Will Richard Gomez’s return to ManilART cause a stir? 2
Photo from @richardgomezinstagram

Richard Gomez is back at ManilART—will we see another controversial painting?

The 2021 edition of the country’s oldest and now largest art fair will unveil new works by both veterans and emerging artists. Here’s a quick guide
Lito B. Zulueta | Oct 19 2021

Actor and Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, who stunned the art world in 2019 when his black-and-yellow painting of a phallus was exhibited and sold for a six-figure sum at the ManilART fair, is back this year at the scene of the crime.

Richard Goma Gomez
"Siargao" by Richard Gomez. 84 x 84 in acylic on canvas

In ManilART 2021 at the SMEX Convention Center of SM Aura Premier in Taguig on Oct. 20 to 24, Gomez will join the Renaissance Gallery booth, the same gallery that exhibited two years ago his jaw-dropping “Oooohh,” the 4 by 4 feet acrylic-on-wood painting of a penis that either jolted or amused fairgoers.

Sam Penaso
"Untitled" by Sam Penaso. 48 x 36 in mixed media

But his comeback to one of the country’s biggest art powwows is not expected to generate as much controversy. In fact his acrylic-on-canvas work, “Siargao,” is expected to silence his detractors who claimed his 2019 painting was nothing but shock publicity stunt.

Naomi Banal
"Extraordinary Faith 1" by Naomi Banal. 60 x 3 in acrylic on canvas

At the least his new painting will perhaps make critics take a second look at his work.

“Siargao” is a virtual satellite map of the tear-drop of an island in Surigao del Norte now quite internationally renowned as a surfing site. The abstract work further abstracts from the cartography of the island to highlight the coastline’s succession of reefs, long stretches of wetlands, and extensive mangrove forest reserves.

Malcolm Infante
"Coffee" by Malcolm Infante.  40 x 30 in acrylic on canvas

Cast in pacific blue, “Siargao” displays Gomez’s developing sense of color and composition. It may not silence his detractors, but it will definitely relax them: “Siargao” is a calming, even contemplative, work.

Renaissance is a popular gallery for fine abstract pieces, and it promises that ManilART fairgoers won’t be disappointed with its selections. 

Allain Hablo
"Adrift 1" by Allain Hablo. 48x48 in mixed media

Particularly striking are Sam Penaso’s “Untitled” mixed-media work in nacreous texture; Jay Ragma’s “Deeper Reflection,” white straight lines careening across a black expanse seeming to mimic the zigzags of thought that preoccupy an anxious mind; Allan Hablo’s “Adrift,” another meditative piece; and Naomi Banal’s “Extraordinary Faith,” a striking palimpsest of colors.

Jay Ragma
"Deeper Reflections" by Jay Ragma. 36 x 48 in acrylic on canvas

Figurative works in the Renaissance booth include Malcolm Infante’s graffiti-like “Coffee” and Lisa Villaseñor’s floral “His Mercies Begin Afresh Each Morning.”

Lisa Villasenor
"His Mercies Begin Afresh Each Morning" by Lisa Villasenor. 36 x 36 in oil on canvas

Artes Orientes

Artes Orientes is likewise showing the new abstract series of Kenneth Montegrande. Some of his semi-abstract cloudscapes have lately gotten a following for their bold colors and throbbing vitality.

Kenneth Montegrande, Harmony V
"Harmony V" by Kenneth Montegrande. 36x36, acrylic on canvas, 2021
Anita Del Rosario, Redeemer
"Redeemer" by Anita Del Rosario. 38 x 19x4, mixed media, 2021

Artes Orientes, which will occupy the C5 and C6 booths, will also hold a group show consisting of established artists Rico Lascano, Nikulas Lebako, Macoy Coching, Anthony Fermin, Meneline Wong, Ella Hipolito, and Anita del Rosario.

Anthony Fermin, Joyride
"Joyride" by Anthony Fermin. 40x40, acrylic on canvas, 2021
Marco Coching A Journey to the Green Horizon
"A Journey to the Green Horizon" by Marco Coching. 30x48, acrylic on canvas, 2021

The crowd-pleaser here is Lascano’s easy-on-the-eye “Musing on Nature VIII,” which combines in its fine slivers of yellow and green tones the contemplating face as well as the object of contemplation. The same healing effect of nature’s colors could be seen in Lebajo’s “Kimono Mountain,” Wong’s “Summer Sweet Sunsets,” and Coching’s “A Journey to the Green Horizon.”

Ella Hipolito-Chasing Childhood Memories
"Childhood Memories" by Ella Hipolito-Chasing, brass 33x47.5x14
Meneline Wong, Summer Sweet Sunsets
"Summer Sweet Sunsets" by Meneline Wong, 36x48, acrylic on canvas 2021
Nikulas Lebajo, Kimono Mountain
"Kimono Mountain" by Nikulas Lebajo, 36x48 oil on canvas, 2021

Fermin’s “Joyride,” showing a family and their dog squeezed in a motorbike for some gallivanting around the city, is charming and winsome, while Hipolito’s brass sculpture, “Chasing Childhood Memories,” is a touching nostalgia piece. Del Rosario’s mixed-media “Redeemer” is a surreal work of spirituality.

Rico Lascano-Musing on Nature VII
"Nature VII" by Rico Lascano-Musing. 36x36, mixed media, 2021

Galeria Nicolas

Galeria Nicolas (Booth A2) will hold three exhibits: “Aquaria et Terraria” by Jomike Tejido; “A Vivid Symphony” by Fitz Herrera; and “A Certain Solid Fragrance” by Katrina Cuenca Tejido who continues to incorporate his architectural background in his works, creating organic blocks and shapes and endowing them with bright colors and almost naif narrative renderings. 

Tejido The Solarium of Joy
"The Solarium of Joy." 48 x 48, acrylic and oil on canvas
Cuenca Process of Discovery
"Process of Discovery." 25.5 x 17 x 15, copper
Herrera Lomo Love
 "Lomo Love" 36 x 48

Herrera’s abstraction assumes greater depth and more confidence in experimentation while Cuenca’s organic abstraction continues to evolve in both her paintings and sculptures.

Fight for Love by Jef Albea
"Fight for Love" by Jef Albea at Art Lounge Manila

Art Lounge Manila

At Art Lounge Manila (Booth D5), there’s “Call of a Higher Order,” an interesting collaboration between contemporary sculptors Jef Albea and Jonathan Dangue.

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining by Jonathan Dangue at Art Lounge Manila
"Every Cloud has a Silver Lining" by Jonathan Dangue at Art Lounge Manila

Dangue, 2011 Metrobank grand winner for sculpture, presents 40 wall-bound scrolls of brass on colored stretched canvas bases. The scrolls, geometric and conceptual, symbolize knowledge and wisdom. Albea presents stand-alone or wall-bound clay-and-resin sculptures of female figures in graceful poses like a dancer’s, with exquisite armature highlighting their lissomness.

Jeff Dahilan's tessellated art
Jeff Dahilan's tessellated art

Tessellated art

Galerie du Soleil will present Jeff Dahilan’s experiments in tessellation.

Tessellation is when a geometric figure or shape is repeated over and over to cover a plane without any gaps, creating a mosaic pattern. Instead of the usual glass and tiles, Dahilan uses repurposed wood, which is readily available in his hometown of Pangil, Laguna.

Dahilan’s tessellated works in triangular repurposed wood pay homage to women, their beauty and inner strength.

Nemiranda's Ang Bagong Bayani
Nemiranda's "Ang Bagong Bayani"

Tribute to Nemiranda

ManilART 2021 will pay tribute to the life and work of Nemesio “Nemiranda” R. Miranda Jr., whose public art and sculptures dot several sites around the National Capitol Region.

Most notably, Nemiranda is known for his Edsa Revolution mural at the Edsa Shrine.

His other publicly significant works include the “History of the Philippine Army”, a relief sculpture on the parade grounds of Fort Bonifacio; “The Way of Mary,” a series of 20 relief sculptures on the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary installed outdoors from the Edsa Shrine to the Antipolo Cathedral; a relief mural on the History of Ortigas and Co. at Ortigas Park, and most recently, the 30 foot-long Boy Scout monument in Zamboanga City.

Also known as the "Father of Imaginative Figurism" and the "Living Legend of Angono,” Nemiranda has championed the artists and artistic traditions of Angono, his lakeshore hometown and that of National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco.

Agi Pagkatipunan's Paru-paro
Agi Pagkatipunan's "Paru-paro"

Agi Pagkatipunan

Sculptor and furniture maker Agi Pagkatipunan will show his series of “Salumpuwit” (that’s Tagalog for “chair”), various interpretations of the home staple in Philippine hardwoods such as yakal, kamagong, molave, and tindalo.

As always Pagkatipunan combines art and function in such pieces as “Alupihan,” Paru-paro,” “Pagong,” “Trono,” and most notably, the bench known as “Social Distancing.”

Araceli Dans' Paru-parong Puti  jpg
Araceli Dans' "Paru-parong Puti"

Araceli Dans

Gallery Nine will display the new works of Philippine Medal of Merit awardee Araceli Dans. Now 91, Dans, whose contemporaries at the UP fine arts school include National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva, Sanso, Angel Cacnio, and Pitoy Moreno, remains the prolific artist she’s always been.

Her new exquisite interpretations of Philippine applique should show her staying power and reaffirm her legacy to Philippine arts and culture.

Ramon Orlina's Symphony of Light
Ramon Orlina's "Symphony of Light"

Annual Sculpture Review

At the Annual Sculpture Review, a regular program of ManilART, a fine piece is Ramon Orlina’s “Symphony of Light, a 36 x 100 x 21 cm carved peridot glass.

Peridot is an “olivinine,” a mineral in translucent green which endows Orlina’s newest experiment in light with a supernatural, if not contemplative, sheen.  


Satellite exhibits

What makes ManilART the biggest art fair in the country are the series of satellite exhibits nationwide.

For ManilART 2021, the satellite exhibits in Luzon are “Likhang Silangan” in Angkla Art Gallery in Angono, Rizal (Oct. 10-23); “Tarlac Art” at the Diwa ng Tarlac Community Center in Tarlac City (Oct. 1-22); and Casa Carlitos in Pampanga, which houses the brass sculptures of the late Capampangan sculptor Carlitos Ortega.

The satellite exhibit in Mindanao will be at the Balai Kalapay in Malagos, Davao City; it will be a group show headed by acclaimed sculptor and painter Kublai Millan.

Other participating art galleries are 371 Art Space, A. Tolentino, Art For Space, Artologist, Espacio Manila by CMG, G9 Online, Galerie Artes, Francesca, Raphael, Historia Arts, Nemiranda Arthouse, NQC, Phoenix Lounge, Robles Museum, Village, and Ysobel.

ManilART is the flagship program of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) for National Museums and Galleries Month this October. It is co-presented by the NCCA with the Bonafide Art Galleries Organization and ManilART Foundation.