What was once solely virtual now turns into physical

Vintana.ph, originally a virtual contemporary art gallery, has always been true to its vision. They’ve pushed to democratize the prevailing art scene, to turn young, contemporary artists into household names, and carve a symbiotic future for both young artists and young collectors. With the pandemic turning endemic and receding, it only became a natural step for Vintana to finally shrug off the virtual descriptor, and launch their physical gallery. This is now happening at The Astbury, on Orion St. in Poblacion, Makati.

Ram Bautista and Ryan R. Flores, 2/3rds of Vintana.ph

Now art can be languid, meditative, and relaxing—and then there’s the school of thought that insists art should be fiery, provocative, and dangerous. While I can appreciate both ends of the spectrum, I’ve often leaned toward the end that challenges and creates a furor: Art that dares you to blink or even turn away. With Vintana’s “The Little Big Art Show,” which runs until July 27, you have a well-curated set of artists and their representative works that definitely shout out and want to rattle the bars of their cages.

Vintana’s founders are Angela Gaddi, Ram Bautista, and Robert Flores. As a collective, they’re out to bridge the gap between the art, the artist, and the public. It’s an inclusive platform that will be validated through monthly exhibits and art features as can be found at Vintana.ph. Through Vintana, the mission-vision of the triumvirate is that the public will get fresh insights and appreciation of what Philippine contemporary art is today.

In the case of the ongoing “The Little Big Art Show,” the physical gallery has been converted into an art space that’s open-themed and just inviting. As the founders say, it’s a “small show featuring big talents.” Participating artists are Dex Fernandez, Lourd de Veyra, Kiko Escora, Manuel Ocampo, Aba Lluch Dalena, Argie Bandoy, Kirk Dijamco, Erick Encinares, Jojo Barja, Hamilton Sulit, Jaime Pacena, Chinnich Candao, Art Tavera, Jared Yokte, and Lena Cobangbang.

Now I’m not going to feign familiarity with these artists, as only four names popped out for me. To me, that’s a good thing, as it means that for someone like me, walking through the gallery becomes a journey of discovery. Too often, other art galleries play it too safe, circulating the works of the same names, the tried and tested. And while I accept that this may have as much to do with the fact that the gallery is an ongoing business concern, as it would be a reflection of the tastes of the owner. It is refreshing to have galleries like Vintana, stretch and create a niche of its own.

The big Vintana idea is to be a highly regarded cultural institution for Philippine contemporary art. They have a YouTube channel where viewers can learn more about the shows they mount, about Philippine Art History and other topical subjects. It’s a lofty aim that richly deserves our support. So for the enfant terribles of our art scene, for the angry young artists, and the not-so-young or so-angry anymore, Angela, Ram, and Robert must be like some godsend, guardian angels who are lighting a path.