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One | Curator's Notes

​Welcome to's first exhibition in Issue One.

Offered on exhibit are seven paintings and one lithograph by selected artists around the theme of the love story. chose this theme for its launch on the idea that while love seems familiar, it nevertheless still remains quite grand; in One, focuses on fourteen specific perspectives around this theme.  The dichotomy of the visual's and the written's respective storytelling media is also the tension explored in seven pairings, which, in One, shows that while each work of art, be it the painting or the poem, says a story potent on its own, the pairing has its own distinct power.

Bencab needs no introduction.  His lithograph, The Kiss (1995), is a depiction of a physical expression of love.  Straightforward in its approach, and in perfect command of its density of composition and emotion, this piece is the artist’s print and first in a limited edition of twelve.  It is the lithograph’s concrete, physical details that the poet Marne Kilates brilliantly propels from to draw the metaphysical elements of the relationship of the lovers in his poem, Diaphanous.  Kilates further illuminates this technique by drawing on both the relationship’s tender lightness, comparing it to a fold in fabric, for example (“Our love:/ fold of piña,/ Crinkle of jusi”), but also references its heft and gravity (a nod to a lithograph's stone beginnings?), referring to Rodin’s bronze sculptures, or also, even if indirectly, the massive mountains Mayon and Makiling.  Concluding his poem on the painting’s space (“horror vacui”), he sees the intangible, and the stark yet fragile connections that fill the space between the lovers.  In Carlos' In My Dreams, Kilates also begins with space, and from this, develops the abstract from the concrete details, imagining for the artist a story of love lost in his poem, A Discourse of Red.  Carlos paints an image of a dream in full color, with areas of shelter and enjoyment in his distinct, expressive style, its vivid reality challenging the lightness and make-believe of a dream. 


Love, loss, and life are also explored in Rebecca T. Añonuevo's poem, Orihen (Origin), based on Onib Olmedo's Still Life With a Violin and Flowers.  Drawing from the still life's objects an astute observation  of the mortality and finiteness lovers face, Añonuevo tells of the story's known end; an ending, though somber, that only serves to underline and magnify love's essential, defying courage.

Four pieces in the exhibition were collaborated on by real-life partnerships.  One of them is Frantic Concave, a poem by Ina Abuan and Stuart Cooke.  Their deft supervision of cadence and use of space blurs the lines between artistic genres by engaging the eye to trace lines in a page as a stroke of a brush in a painting might.  Abuan and Cooke bravely and squarely illuminate the pull and push in the spectrum of courtship, bringing to the table (or page) the elements in play--and it can be said, elements not exactly playful--in Gino Tioseco's Love Story  ("...two halos close enough/for difference or for half of sight//the self is corroding in the margins...")The second pairing in this exhibition resulted in Golden, the title of both the painting by artist Martin Honasan and the accompanying song by his wife, multi-awarded musical artist Barbie Almalbis.  Together, the pieces, and the artists, tell a story of love exemplified by its continuance through time, enduring to the afterlife.  Depicted in the painting is a face, aged and faithfully steadfast in her serene, hopeful countenance and layered by Honasan literally to magnify the figurative.  It is this hope and faithfulness that is sung in the lyrics (“I see you again/ When time was young and we were strong. / Now, we are golden”), transcending time by referencing the past, present, and future in one powerful lyrical arc.

Finally, the last three paintings, two drawings by Janice Liuson-Young and a mixed media artwork by MaxBal, were part of an exhibit curated by Yellow Door Gallery in 2011 entitled "Love Letters," which commissioned artists to paint love letters onto personal stationery.  Liuson-Young and Daily Dying (a pseudonym of the painter's spouse) constitute the last of the real-life pairings in this exhibition.  Puppy Love 1 & depict a child writing his first love letter; the poem that accompanies it turns each turn of phrase on its head, entertaingly handling each, skillfully steering towards a deeper appreciation of an oft-dismissed frivolity of youth.  MaxBal, an artist and a poet, layers different media in Home Made Love 4 to depict a house, cleverly presenting the seeming disparity of fickle restlessness  and the faithful home and yet arriving at restlessness' resolution: finding love where the heart is, exactly where one left it.


In the coming weeks, we will be publishing a series of capsule articles and interviews with the artists and writers who have participated in this issue, as well as delve deeper into the examination of ekphrasis.'s next exhibition and issue, live on 1 October, will celebrate the work of award-winning and renowned Filipino poet Dr. Marjorie Evasco on the occasion of her jubilee, completing five cycles of the Asian astrological calendar.  The issue will feature art based on her poetry and her own ekphrastic poetry on paintings that have inspired her, including paintings by Fernando Zóbel, Pablo Picasso, and René Magritte.

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Bencab  |  The Kiss

Marne Kilates  |  Diaphanous

Onib Olmedo  |  Still Life With  a Violin and Flowers

Rebecca T. Añonuevo  |  Orihen (Origin)

Carlos  |  In My Dreams

Marne Kilates  |  A Discourse of Red

Martin Honasan  |  Golden

Barbie Alamalbis-Honasan  |  Golden

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