Following the success of their online covid19-breaker show, Anticipating the Day, Silverlens completes its one-two punch with Sustainable Anxiety by Pow Martinez and Little Blue Window by Corinne de San Jose, two timely exhibitions slated to open this Thursday, June 25, 2020. Available online, the exhibitions’ e-catalogues will be released at 8:30AM that same morning. Here’s the kicker: viewings will also be available onsite.
That’s right. After three months of lockdown, Silverlens is reopening its venue for scheduled visits, with necessary health and safety measures down on pat. Appointment-based and with set visiting hours from 10AM to 4PM, Tuesday to Saturday, the Silverlens space will have artworks mounted once again, marking a first since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Featuring simultaneous exhibitions by these two artists may just as well be the first of its kind, too, as it certainly is an odd pairing for an odd time. Yet, whether through the sumptuously irreverent style of Pow Martinez or the arresting ruminations of Corinne de San Jose, each artist offers a distinct and prescient take of a world turned askew.
And if the corpulent ghoul nursing his glass of swill on the event invite is any indication, life doesn’t bode well in Pow Martinez’s Sustainable Anxiety. The artist’s humorously grotesque and off-kilter characters return in eight new paintings, as Martinez continues to explore consumption and societal roles in contemporary culture. Presenting keen observations of our forcibly digital—and to that extent, sedentary—lifestyles, spectatorship of a world gone awry seems to be the standard way to cope. And, apparently, so is being naked. The teaser pieces just tempt us to ask: what if we look at this pandemic as a time of visual glut?
Coming at another angle is Corinne de San Jose’s Little Blue Window, where the artist’s signature themes of repetition and recurrence figure in her latest experiments with cyanotype prints. “56 Days” is a cyanotype grid of equal number, with each print a screenshot of video noise lifted from the Internet during the lockdown. As each negative received a full day’s exposure to sunlight by de San Jose’s apartment window, the process was repeated for 56 consecutive days before assembly. As the artist writes about the piece, it “[becomes] a visual journal of Metro Manila’s enhanced community quarantine.” In a similar grid work with the same number, “The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me Today,” constructed is an image of the last beach the artist saw before the pandemic, the last time she was outdoors, in fact. As she created work for the show, de San Jose found her mind vacillating between these two mental spaces. In a time punctuated by our lack of control, accompanied in these attempts at gleaning a sense of structure is an incessant unease, the kind that suggests how order, too, may have become just as provisional.
Who knows? It’s more than enough to want to see check these works out in person. And very, very soon, we can.
Silverlens and its digital doppelganger will run Sustainable Anxiety and Little Blue Window from June 25 to July 24, 2020. Ready your masks and schedule your gallery visit here.