Creatures of Circumstance

Saturday, August 16, 2014, 6 pm

August 16 to September 12, 2014


1335MABINI presents Rinne Abrugena in a solo exhibition entitled “Creatures of Circumstance” from August 16 to September 12, 2014.

The exhibit is a collection of portraits of selected authors who have greatly contributed to the art of writing, as well as figures in history who have likewise used the written language in their respective fields. Rinne Abrugena uses portraiture to pay homage to these men, and to attempt to address one of her issues with painting: translating with immediacy persons and/or objects based on how they appear at a certain point in time, making less room for interpretations out of the visual context of the form generally portrayed.

“Creatures of Circumstance” is the title of a collection of short stories by William Somerset Maugham, a 20th century British writer known for his brilliant and frank prose. Maugham, having realized in his autobiographical novel, Of Human Bondage, that life has no meaning, discussed further that we humans are only products of the physical environment, a consequence of the natural course of things “no more significant than other forms of life”. Hence the title came about as an interpretation of this literary sketch, an affirmation that parallels the artist’s view on portrait painting: its directness situates the viewer to sense what is there in front of him and nothing more. In this way, the audience may be induced to look into the works of these men whose portraits are displayed in the exhibition.

This group of writers’ portraits arose from Abrugena’s interest in physiognomy, her habit of reading, and her admiration for 19th and 20th century authors whose works deal with the struggles of the individual. She believes that in contrast to painting, beautiful writing provides a more effective way in tackling issues about society, man, and his conduct of life.