Grayscale is a group show work by 11 artists, following a very loose brief concerning black and white. Curated by Soler Santos, the exhibition pulls the focus away from color and showcases an array of interpretations that breathe new life into what can be viewed as an extremely old trope.
Neil Pasilan and Mark Andy Garcia turn to the forest, enclosing their subjects in lush monochromatic foliage. In Pasilan’s painting, two discernible figures come together in a body of water, sharing what looks to be an intimate moment, viewed through what can be construed as a voyeuristic lens. Here, Garcia’s multicolored landscape abstractions take on a more sombre, quiet feeling. Where Pasilan’s foliage camouflage his subjects much more thoroughly, the trees in Garcia’s work do not swallow up the man in the center, making for an ominous and eerie picture.
Jigger Cruz presents an abstract work, with more line work than textural detail and color. While the palette is restrained, the gestures certainly are not. A beautiful textile work by Raffy Napay relies on texture and direction to delineate certain figures, a familiar composition of his work, but presented now without color. It creates, somehow, a strange engulfing emotion, the feeling of being swallowed by a void, though hopeful still, and lit up by a tiny pinprick of light.
Hamilton Sulit plays with light and silhouette, the pose and shape of the figure invoking that of Saint Sebastian’s arrow-ridden body, clearly and visibly against a nondescript grayscale backdrop. The silhouette is illuminated, with things that look like shards of glass, or X-Ray radiation. Next to it is a more illustrative figure by Andres Barrioquinto, a portrait of a character whose custom frame echoes elements from the painting itself.
A piece by Luis Antonio Santos blurs the notions of print and sculpture. A layering over of entangled blinds, the piece is a commentary on suffocation and stagnation, an extension of his series of work from his recent solo exhibition at The Drawing Room and an earlier group show at MO_Space. Winner Jumalon paints a still life of a pile of objects—topped with a tower of coins, precariously balanced—on a stand, as though it were a sculpture.
Four pieces by Arturo Sanchez are hung atop one another, a black and white version of his explosive collage and resin work. Lynyrd Paras deconstructs portraiture, isolating elements and collaging them back together. Kaloy Sanchez paints a scene that somehow elicits both serenity and suspicion, combining a careful rendition of blades of grass and capturing the suppleness of the body with an almost pixelated and stylized background.
The lack of color highlights a spectrum of other aspects of a work of art, using only shadow and light to make sense of the images. It may require a longer examination, a somewhat forced contemplation for the full picture to swim up to the surface so that we may see what is meant to be revealed.