AS BOHOLANO artist Geovanni Abing will soon open his third solo exhibit on August 18 at Qube Gallery, Cebu City, I am optimistic that his art’s magnetic qualities assure his promising journey. His pace-setting art attests this. The following is my art criticism for his coming show:
Individuals may choose a course of action off the beaten track. At times, these pathfinders affect popular culture by their individuality; likewise, culture inspires their individualism.
What the mind feeds, that is what he or she becomes. The human mind begins as a complete but receptive blank slate or a “tabula rasa” as Aristotle conceptualizes it; we learn and transmute our lives from the information about the objects in the world that our senses carry.
Thus, Ralph Waldo Emerson penned: “…man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots/whose flower and fruitage is the world.”
Much of what we are comes from our beliefs—our map of the world and our place in it. Beliefs are powerful because it is our sense of reality filtered by life experiences. Our beliefs, however, are not real but are mere constructs.
The map is not the jurisdiction—just a subjective representation of it. But beliefs are either empowering or limiting depending on how we nurture them.
In this exhibit, Geovanni Abing figuratively presents the influencing and influenced constituent of urban culture. His “All That Remains” focuses on the causality between memories and day-to-day encounters, and the fabric of pop tastes, perspectives and practices: the outcome is a function of the inputs.
Abing’s collage images reminds of subsuming materialistic values which—if remained unchecked and unchallenged—sacrifices one’s spirituality and catalyzes a less meaningful communal and personal existence. His portrait-inspired presentations metaphorically reveal what happens if individuals are filled with the time’s many delusions. For the online screen slaves, for instance, they can reflect whether or not they are “made or unmade” by what consumes them.
The artworks reveal surreal faces with eyes or necks forcing out cartoon characters, animals and other symbols of pop culture. Comical and bizarre, they obviously communicate a satire.
The unique medium—upcycled magazines and books—and imagery cannot more reinforce on the theme of identity crisis evoked by the subjects of Abing’s artworks.
The oeuvres are informed by the search for and scholarly debate over Filipino national identity, and the seeming dearth of values in urban culture. The quest and deliberations? These arise from the reality that information about who we are, what we are about, and what we are expressing— is lacking.