Shadow Boxes And Other Visible Things On Paper

Arturo Sanchez Jr

September 14 - October 14, 2023


Into the mind’s eye


Ideas are not merely conceived on paper, as exemplified by Arturo Sanchez Jr. in “Shadow Boxes and Other Visible Things on Paper”. An architect of visual narratives, he is unafraid of the allure of tangible materials, of sculptures, installations, assemblages, and collages. Not one to shy away from conveying stories that explore the profound dimensions of existence through depths rarely visible to the naked eye.


The framed sculptures and assemblages do not simply encase fears associated with the inevitable; they also invite inspection. Prompting the viewer to contemplate on the idea of death meeting its own end. The answer lies at the heart of “The Death of Death” as the dynamic composition oscillates left and right, confronting the sobering truth of mortality— with a smile. What could possibly be more disconcerting about one’s demise than responding with laughter?


Laughter that is echoed by “The God of Small Things”, found objects from the artist’s studio of driftwood and cast-iron. Initially collected as a conduit of spontaneous expression, utilizing natural and artificial elements such as driftwood, bird’s nest, resin figures, and cast-iron foliage treated to induce corrosion and rust. The work has revealed to have its own vitality. Almost an ironic coincidence orchestrated by the hand of an artist who toiled tirelessly to articulate the absence of life, only to discover that what comes after nonexistence is existence, he aptly describes, “after death there is life”.


This cyclic theme recurs in his collages as layers of a narrative unfold. Comprising images seemingly crafted from upcycled paper, the artist once again answers the call of the material. In this case, he hunts, gathers, and assembles images into a composition he calls, “Layers of Shifting Narratives”. Most evident in “Floating Mood Swings 1-5”, each layer representing a story that is best interpreted by the mind’s eye. Apparent too in “Sacred Space” which may serve as a muse, or ”Ghost Painter” possibly embodying the artist himself. His approach of distilling elements on what appears to be a singular page might serve as a commentary on existence—perhaps a reminder in discernment, to see what is essential we must acknowledge all else that is inconsequential.


And what is essential for the artist manifests in his studio practice. The obsession over material, concepts, and existence, reflects that ideas are not limited to being born out of paper. It could be birthed through found objects transformed into sculptures, installations, assemblages, and collages. One must be willing to heed the summons of material in unlocking the mind’s eye, as the artist so deftly accomplishes.


Kara Quiambao