Mabini Projects

Cumulus Blimp:
A Transnational Platform of Discourse

Friday, September 15, 2017, 6 pm

September 15 to October 13, 2017

“It is very doubtful that any cultural object, being a product of human consciousness with its intricate weavings, can exist except in a web of intentions and meanings.” – Thomas McEvilley, Art & Discontent

In this exhibition, Ernest Concepcion and Muchi Hsieh present their current exploration with paint on canvas, continuing an aesthetic of dynamic interplay between figuration and abstraction.

Concepcion’s paintings incorporate images from a historical timeline that provide an analogy to patterns arising from society’s differing interpretations of current events as seen on the news and social media. The artist investigates how certain elements of his work (appropriated images of pre-colonial explorers as well as popular representations of a colonized society’s early religious leaders) can be sewn into more complex compositions while developing ambiguous suggestions in the creation of the viewer’s narrative.

The artist’s recent process is marked by vigorous experimentation and a deliberate way of handling mixed media layers, where the juxtaposition of form is balanced with the playful yet calculated placement of hues and strokes with varying depth.  The viewer then senses how each composition works itself to a saturation point that resists both flow and stillness. Concepcion re-organizes and concocts from bits and fragments, and delivers full areas of textured lines and shapes where pure colors seem to move away from themselves and settle towards restless focal points.  

Muchi’s works are also narratives that display subjective frames from material reality. While the artist’s motivation is to create landscapes that are “objects in themselves”, a lyrical reading of his work still contains allusions to tangible references, specifically nature. The push-pull of organic form and figuration defines a method of storytelling that is likewise accessible, and having foreground-background tensions strengthen his idea of exploring the possibilities in painting where directness and autonomy are prioritized. Muchi proceeds to push further the idea of abstraction by working on shaped canvases while retaining a multi-layered approach to color and shapes.

These artists are bound by a sensibility of choreographing visual flow on canvas that is highly experimental and is rooted in strong introductions of color and shapes based on their attitude towards translating perceptions into sensations.  Their works are bright visual interjections that cultivate a sense of identity that is personal due to its storytelling yet detached because of its ambiguity. Objects that are seen to evolve towards newer forms are readily available in painting, as the individual frames of images carry with them the possibilities of either erasure or reinforcement.

Words by Rinne Abrugena