Space Encounters Gallery Encounters White Elephant

  • by The Cartellino Team

In one way or another, we’ve all voiced our thoughts on it, but let it go down in history that it was Space Encounters Gallery who addressed it directly through the first line of their press release: “Why call it the new normal when nothing is normal?”

The italics was our touch. It emphasizes frustration better that way. If you read the line similarly on the first go-around, it’s good to know strong feelings about it are still eligible to be had. Hold on to them, and then consider heading over to Space Encounters to see just how their latest lineup inspects these ebullient emotions up under the light.

And, of course, in the artist roster’s street-smart flavors. Begin with I’m Angry, But What Now?, the solo exhibition of Mark Santos (giddy collectors know him as Mr. S), as his pygmy, pouty creations draw you in with cute, and then resent you for it. In settings that join pop-culture with older forms of Asian folklore—perceptibly Japanese—we find its inhabitants increasingly dissatisfied, maybe at themselves, though certainly extended toward a society still passive, still awry.

The Great Battle_3x3ft Cartellino
Mark Santos (Mr. S). The Safe Ones.3 x 3 feet. Acrylic on canvas. 2020.
Mr. S Cartellino
Mark Santos (Mr. S). The Great Battle. 3 x 3 feet. Acrylic on canvas. 2020.
wanderer05_2020_2 MR S
Mark Santos (Mr. S). Wanderer (Series 5). Height: 9 ½” (24cm). Mixed media sculpture on wooden box. 2020.
wanderer04_2020_2 Cartellino
Mark Santos (Mr. S). Wanderer (1 in a series). Mixed media sculpture on wooden box. 2020.
wanderer03_2020_1 Cartellino
Mark Santos (Mr. S). WANDERER (Series 3). Height: 9 ½” (24cm) Mixed media sculpture on wooden box. 2020.
KIWICUTS. Revolt. 3 x 3 inches. Oil on canvas. 2020.
20200909_132924 Cartellino KIWICUTS
KIWICUTS. Chinobot 1. 3h x 3.5w x 2.5d. Acrylic on resin. 2020.

Next up is the Parañaque-based CVTY Collective artist, KIWICUTS, with PVC (Post-Vehemence Critters) on Post-Apocalypse and New Revolution. Amid craggy post-apocalyptic landscapes of raw sienna, a chipper nomadic tribe stamp their feet as they chart this new frontier. The paintings come with a showcase of Kiwi’s goons  as vinyl toys. This is Elleazar’s first solo show with Space Encounters; let it not be the last.

Closer to the present tense is a gathering of works by artists, Jappy Agoncillo, Irish Galon, Nikko Pelaez, and SYN (Jade Suayan) that reflect on the behaviors the ongoing pandemic has shaped, aptly titled We Hope You Are Safe.

Jappy Agoncillo. SILLY RABBIT. 3 x 2 feet. Acrylic on Canvas 2020.
Jappy Agoncillo. (Left to Right) Cruiser 1, Cruiser 2. 28” x 8” and 26” x 7”. Mixed media on Skateboard Deck. 2020.

What comes next for TemplarAssassin76, and other people who love customizing usernames on social media? For Facebook, it’s personalized avatars, although we prefer Jappy Agoncillo’s renditions better. For his tongue-in-cheek “Apocalips” series, Agoncillo invites us to consider just how whack we can make them, and he spurs us on through an aggregate of punk influences—Akira, Mad Max, Umbrella Academy, and pop-punk music—which converge into a colorful, visual delight, many of which present cereal mascots poised at the ready for the next purge.

Different personalities in the hands of SYN turn inward, as she dials her colors up to the extreme, creating an episode that highlights the less presentable aspects of behavior. Figuration melts into a whirl, as with “Neon Demon,” the first episode on the list. On it, Jade explains: “Neon represents the bright and strong desire of an individual for something. Demon, [meanwhile,] is characterized as the intense way of how far an individual could go to fulfill that desire.”

Neon Demon Cartellino
SYN. Don't Push, I Can Keep This All Life Long. 3 x 3 feet. Acrylic on canvas. 2020.
Neon Demon Cartellino 2
SYN. Whatever It Takes Episode 1: Neon Demon. 3 x 3 feet. Acrylic on Canvas. 2020.

Bridling outburst with needful introspection, Irish Galon presents “Wallflower,” a new series of paintings in her singular, coveted style, which speaks into emotions that are conditioned to be repressed, held in fear of premature judgment, until it’s trained to be forgotten. As viewers peer into the obscured faces of girls in quaint domestic, floral settings, where organic matter sprout quietly in the periphery, Galon asks: “What are the things that grow within?”

Last are the slice-of-life portraits by Nikko Pelaez, which draws the conversation out of the psychological and into the affective. In a series of three paintings titled, “Sunrise,” “Sunset,” and “Midnight,” the 2018 Vans Asia Custom Culture awardee illustrates how even the time of day can cycle one’s moods, rising, ebbing, setting the mind up for the next, the rest fading out, in variations as singular as each passing day.

Ill just sit here and be okay Cartellino
Irish Galon. I'll just sit here & be okay.36 x 24 inches. Acrylic on Canvas. 2020.
Adrift Cartellino
Irish Galon. Drifting through Numb Feelings. 24 x 18 inches. Acrylic on Canvas. 2020.
The Sunrise Nikko Pelaez Cartellino
Nikko Pelaez.Midnight. 3 x 2 feet. Acrylic on canvas. 2020.
The Sunset Nikko Pelaez Cartellino
Nikko Pelaez.Sunset. 3 x 2 feet. Acrylic on canvas. 2020.
The Midnight Nikko Pelaez Cartellino
Nikko Pelaez.Sunrise. 3 x 2 feet. Acrylic on canvas. 2020.

All these shows opened last week, September 12, and continue still. Space Encounters Gallery is located at Unit 7D, 7th Floor Padilla Building, F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. For appointment bookings and inquiries, email or call 0917-7956739. They’re open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am to 5pm. You may also log on to

Anchor photo: KIWICUTS. Respite. 2 x 3 inches. Oil on canvas. 2020.

All images courtesy of Space Encounters Gallery.