Kicking off 2022, Bernardo Pacquing presents Disquietude, a show comprised of a series of monochromatic paintings in copious shades of red warmed by surfacing bright colors under layers of pigment at Silverlens Galleries. It features four huge diptychs called “Red Objects” and “Beta Chain,” a series of fifteen assemblages of oil on cut cardboard.
Writer Josephine Roque says, “The successive coats of underpainting, dripped, splattered and poured paint allows the viewer to reconstruct and follow Pacquing’s loose gestural marks which begin in one canvas and continue to its complementary partner through its mix of dark crimson, cadmium red and black along with its surface sheen makes it harder to look at. The black in some of the canvas works seems to melt into the red, or strokes sit on top of it like calcified crusts. On closer inspection, one perhaps wonders if this is what stepping out of blindness feels like. Red is the first color babies see when they are born. The reds used here are not cold, depressing, or austere, but of throbbing discontent, of caring about what happens next. In one diptych, the color and texture make it look like exposed flesh, while in another, it is the red of ritual and community found on the walls and pillars of palaces and temples. Ceremony and the color red have been used in many cultures to signal the beginning and the end of passages marking a life: birth, weddings, mourning, and even the liturgical calendar.”
Bernardo Pacquing graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts in 1989. The Tarlac-born Bernie was twice declared a winner of the Grand Prize for the Art Association of the Philippines Open Art Competition in 1992 and 1999. In 2000, He became one of the prestigious Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artists Award recipients. Bernardo has shown in solo and group exhibitions at various local and international venues such as Silverlens, Mo Space, Manila Contemporary, La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore, Osage Gallery Hong Kong, and TAKSU Singapore.
His works usually feature vast layers of white, gray, black, and other contrasting colors. This show can be considered an inceptive period of the highly regarded artist using red on his canvases. These current works, much like the title of the show, represent a state of uneasiness or anxiety, far from his works pre-pandemic which have a specific matte texture. The works presented have a glossy surface due to oil paints with linseed oil, which were the most readily available materials in a country with austere COVID-19 restrictions where he is based, Singapore.
The works from this sold-out show, all made during the pandemic, continue to explore the physicality of surfaces and the material minutiae of urban life. They will get through the pandemic and will tender its audience disquietude, reversed.
Bernardo Pacquing’s “Disquietude” is currently on view at Silverlens Galleries, 2263 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.
Notes about the Contributor
Art enthusiast and into Fashion, French Culture, Mid-century modern design and spends a lot of his time curating his home in Manila and LA. He lives with his 3 dogs, Coco, Yohji, and Junya.