Phosphenes: Of Seeing Beyond Sight

Phosphenes (n.): a phenomenon characterized by the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the eye.

Inspired to let the audience see what more than meets the eye, the collaborative exhibit of Kris Abrigo, Soleil Ignacio, Tokwa Penaflorida, Pow Marin, and Yeo Kaa, focuses on the use of bright colors to create an eye-catching display of works that transcends a deeper message to its audience. The refreshing use of pastels have created an illusion of happiness, but a longer look to each work would make you realize that the underlying stories are thought inducing and are not as light as they project to be. Although presented as a group show, each artist has attacked and interpreted the concept differently from one another, and this has created an interesting dynamics when you hear their tales and inspiration for each of their creations.

Pow Marin, who showcased his distinct style of incorporating points and dots to his works, have created a series of paintings called “Saudade” for the exhibit. He used darker shades of teal, almost borderline gray, and included light pink as accent to his rather gloomy creations. Although his attack was not as colorful as the others, one innocent glance on his works and you would think that he is featuring kids going about their usual day. A closer look would tell you otherwise. Apparently, Pow’s inspiration for his series was actually rather dark, it being the children who passed away from the Sandy Hook killing, and his works reflect images of the “what could have beens”. He took the chance at the exhibition to present a pressing issue that we seem to have forgotten, bringing it back in flashes and seemingly pure artworks.

Just like Marin, Yeo Kaa’s works were also a product from a rather dark nature. Inspired by her personal struggles and own challenges, Kaa’s works tackled relevant issues like depression and suicide, religious controversies, and on how we become more and more polluted as we age. Each piece impeccably used light colors, with doodles and drawings that emanate innocence, and symbolisms that bring its message to a whole new meaning.

While Marin and Kaa’s work encourages us to look at our surroundings, Tokwa Peñaflorida’s creations drive us to look inward and acknowledge emotions and desires that we do not explicitly talk about. In a way, what he showcased was a glimpse of repression, with images addressing the intensity of these emotions that we are never really used to expressing without a sense of intimacy. Peñaflorida aims to communicate stories and use visuals as a way of telling his tales to the audience. His works display surreal situations using his mastery on creating portraits, reimagining settings and feelings into vibrant works of art.

As for Soleil Ignacio, she took the meaning of Phosphenes to heart, creating pieces that features alter egos and multiple personalities using silk screen and paint. Phosphenes is also associated as the images that we see when we put pressure in our eyes; similarly put, Ignacio’s works mirror the personalities that we might see when we are put under pressure. She worked wonders with women’s portraits, exuding fluidity in every stroke and piece that she exhibited.

Last, but definitely not the least, was Kris Abrigo, fresh from his solo exhibit from Vinyl on Vinyl. Abrigo showcased his mastery on using geometrical figures to create one of a kind works, reviving his usage of vibrant colors to his pieces just for this exhibit. His works are heavily inspired by the different kinds of vision, hence the name of his pieces — near sighted and far sighted, as some of the examples. His works are focused on social realism, providing insightful critiques on Filipinos’ attitude through his medium.

Art has always been a way to educate and encourage people to communicate, and surely, Phosphenes was able to serve those and a little more.

Phosphenes is currently being exhibited at Secret Fresh Gallery, Ground Floor, Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills.

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