Six Philippine Contemporary Artists Make for a Stunning Bangkok Debut

With mesmerizing works that have drawn crowds at local art fairs and solo exhibitions alike, six prolific contemporary Filipino artists—Jason Montinola, Ana Victoria Montinola, Ronald Caringal, Valerie Chua, Wesley Valenzuela, and Kadin Tiu—make their Thailand debut in La Lanta Fine Art, Bangkok. Aptly titled Displacement, the group exhibit displays the artists’ studio works made during Manila’s hundred-plus-day lockdown.

The mind races when isolated in a time of mass uncertainty and unease; it follows threads that tangle and twine in sometimes awful and, other times, serendipitous ways. One’s identity comes into question; a relationship with the world is put under strain. Offered in Displacement are glimpses of the Filipino artists’ preoccupations, art practices, and sensibilities toward this challenge.

Valerie-Chua-Institutional-Generational Cartellino
Valerie Chua. Institutional, Generational. Oil on linen. 60 x 80 cm. 2020.
Wesley Valenzuela The Great Disquiet Cartellino
Wesley Valenzuela. The Great Disquiet. 91. 5 x 122 cm. Acrylic and serigraph on canvas. 2020.
Not-a-Lichtenstein-1 Ronald Caringal
Ronald Caringal. Not a Lichtenstein 1. Oil on canvas. 91.5 x 122 cm. 2020.
Thunder-Defuser Ana Victoria Montinola
Ana Victoria Montinola. Thunder Defuser. Oil on canvas. 51.5 x 58.5 cm. 2020.

Compressed bodies and symbols knot and converge in Wesley Valenzuela’s artworks as they tackle the sense of unease prevalent during the pandemic, of which incumbent powers play no small part in spreading. In the tongue-in-cheek Pop Art-inspired work of Ronald Caringal, the reflection centers on the difficulty of being an artist. Ana Victoria Montinola’s stunning abstract expressionism plays on ideas of spontaneity and chance.

The series by Valerie Chua takes inspiration from Heidegger. The works “are an attempt to claim freedom within our own constraints.” Similarly, for Jason Montinola, the artist views the act of painting not just for creative expression, but also to attain a higher spiritual state: “by way of opening up consciousness, sharing hidden realities, and revealing surprising connections,” according to his artist statement.

Catatonic Muse Cartellino
Jason Montinola. Catatonic Muse. 41 x 51.5 cm. Oil on canvas. 2020.
Perpetual Kadin Tiu
Kadin Tiu. Perpetual. Oil on canvas. 91.5 x 122 cm. 2020.

Displacement runs until September 16, 2020. Learn more about the artists and the show by visiting La Lanta’s website.

Anchor photo: Ana Victoria Montinola. Horizontal Punchline. Oil on canvas. 82 x 51 cm. 2020.

All images courtesy La Lanta Fine Art.