Views of the world

Published July 27, 2022, 11:54 AM

by John Legaspi

West Gallery presents the solo exhibits of Jose Tence Ruiz, Dengcoy Miel, Pete Jimenez, and Pinggot Zulueta

The Bible has introduced many notable characters but none have been portrayed on a grimmer note than the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In the book of Revelation, these characters represent conquest, war, famine, and death. The tale of their coming has been immortalized in culture. Coincidentally, the four themes the harbingers of the last judgment represent can also be seen in solo exhibitions created by four Filipino artists.

Located in Quezon City, West Gallery becomes the epicenter of local visual arts as it presents the latest works of Jose Tence Ruiz, Dengcoy Miel, Pete Jimenez, and Pinggot Zulueta. Collecting diverse artworks, the exhibits display an abundance of shapes and colors while others are deliberately restrained to monochrome lines. What remains the same among their works is their discipline for their craft and modern views of the world today.

Pete Jimenez, Dengcoy Miel, Jose Tence Ruiz, and Pinggot Zulueta

‘Force Maneure’

For over 30 years, Jose Tence Ruiz has been known as a multimedia artist who has never been shy in putting the political and social landscape of the Philippines in his art. His latest exhibit, dubbed “Force Maneure,” continues to celebrate his signature style of social realism. Force Maneure is an awkward neologism from the merging of manure and majeure (with “force majeure” meaning “stronger power” in English). Poeces featured in this exhibit aim to “address credibility, skeptical jadedness, indifference, parroting the sublime into the banal, self-negating extreme commitment, and somehow arrive at a state of fatigue.”

“In privileged cases where we can choose our calamity, Force Maneure may often be last on our list,” says Tence Ruiz. “Who wishes to inhabit a social realm defined by turgid unacceptability, particularly in the form of fabricated histories, poker-faced fraud, calm deceit, unreliability, cold and egregious falsification? And yet, that might even be a preferable situation to clarify.”


‘Failed Taxonomies’

Award-winning Filipino cartoonist and illustrator Miel Prudencio Ma, famously known as Dengcoy Miel, explores societal hierarchy, pandemic life, and community classifications in his latest exhibit titled “Failed Taxonomies.” Among the artworks on display is the God’s Comic piece, in which he depicts people’s faith by attempting to go through God’s way to match His pain. Another is the Rizal in the Land of Lilimut, where he puts on canvas one of the nation’s heroes, Dr. Jose Rizal, whose books and teachings are forgotten in today’s Tiktok-crazy world.

With his latest works, the artist asks the question “whether we really deserve our heroes” or if “we deserve our self-defined and self-inflicted taxonomies.”


‘The Greatest Gun Show in the West’

Guns and pistols take the spotlight in Pete Jimenez’s “The Greatest Gun Show in the West” collection. A dedicated practice shooter, the artist knows the power and protection that come with firearm. The title of the show plays with the gallery’s name and the American Wild West. His goal for the exhibit is to “train a metonymic spotlight onto this device that he respects, studies, enjoys, and yet regards with a tinge of anxiety and clear-headed scrutiny.”

“His art looks at this extension of our ego, of our imagination, of our insecurities, and hopes to display readings on abusive policemen, solo-flight maniacs, stifled protests, corrupted gendarmes, and twisted investigators, all wielding guns in manners that do not necessarily augment human civility,” the gallery wrote. “Guns are extensions of human will, therefore articulate human spirit, acceptable, or not.”


‘Infinitum’

Following his past releases Incepto (2016), Katharsis (2017), and Melankolia (2020), Pinggot Zulueta’s Infinitum exhibit presents ink drawings on paper, depicting his life in isolation during the pandemic. “Infinitum” or “Ad Infinitum,” which means “without end or limit,” can be a concept many would find difficult to grasp as the world continues to grapple with Covid-19. Through his surreal illustrations, he tries to present a confluence of emotions, including despondent expressions about the grim realities of this segment in human history.

”During the years of isolation, my resolve was to document how the pandemic was affecting me and others, including the not-so-subtle realization that our mortality is real, In solidarity with various forms of anguish, these artworks are presented in exuberant fields of black and white, as if shades of darkness are spreading into infinity,” says the artist. “I have always painted whenever I felt the need to understand the underlying forces around my existence. The recent pandemic has created a more intense awareness of our mortality, as we make deliberate choices as to what is important. In a way, there was this ‘collective introspection’ that happened, where human beings stopped to reflect on the little things that made a huge difference in their lives. It was a collective effort that unified the world into defeating the pandemic.”

‘Force Maneure,’ ‘Failed Taxonomies,’ ‘The Greatest Gun Show in the West,’ and ‘Infinitum’ run until Aug. 6 at West Gallery in Quezon City.


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