Amid Great Doubt and Uncertainty by Brave Singh
For his “Amid Great Doubt and Uncertainty” Solo show at Blanc Gallery, Ilocano artist Brave Singh presents an awe-inspiring exhibit that revolves around what’s happening in the world right now – the innumerable challenges and drawbacks the public is facing because of the pandemic and the resulting changes people had to adapt to, whether it be personal, social and environmental in nature.
He notes, “These obstacles bring uncertainties and doubts, leaving us either to cope or to be drowned in the situation. But I am a firm believer that there will always be hope; a light at the end of the tunnel and silver linings amidst doubts and uncertainties”.
At large, the remarkable works of art in this sold-out show are more about landscapes that uplift people’s well-being. The artist hopes that these landscapes will help the people catch their breath. “It is my intention for my works to become a sign of hope: that there’s still life out there after these challenging times”, shares the half-Indian artist.
Known for visually recapitulating concepts of memory and sentimentality in his works, he included two stunning pieces entitled “Veranda at Dawn” and “Verdana at Dusk.” He says, “The chairs always bring back memories of home. I love reminiscing. I particularly relish remembering good memories. Sadly, the chairs have been damaged, even burnt. Repurposing the damaged chairs, I look into their intrinsic beauty and allow them to be seen by others the way I see them. It provides me with hope. We may have changed. We might have been burnt. But in due time, we will overcome these uncertainties”.
A Triptych called “Hurdling Waves” represents a boat that has journeyed through the sea and has been found seaworthy. It has weathered many storms, and the island serves as a refuge. Brave says that we can access this state whenever we want to.
All the sensational pieces in this show are in a black frame, alluding to the limitations that life frames people in. It’s the person’s choice to fight and move on, to take the risk to gamble with this game of life, or to succumb to life’s uncertainties, depression, anxiety, and oblivion.
As noted by writer Ricky Francisco, “Amid Great Doubt and Uncertainty, though intended by Singh as an escape from the confinement imposed on us during the pandemic, rather forces us to ask the bigger questions – Are we indeed alone? Do we choose life? Do we matter? And this is what makes these works, indeed his body of work, important. These paintings are not for the faint of heart. But appear more to be for those who are acquainted with loss but choose to live despite it.”
OVERGROWTH by Pancho Francisco
As most kids are, Pancho Francisco has always been amazed by two-dimensional objects being made to look three-dimensional, like pop-up books and the View-Master objects, since he was young. He continues to challenge and dismantle these narrow-minded notions about collage. He proves to his audience how powerful, inspiring, and relevant the art of collage still is today and continuously explores how he can redefine and reinvent the medium.
For his latest endeavor, “OVERGROWTH,” he presents thirteen remarkably stunning, three-dimensional collage works encased in a cocoon of resin. He chose the title of the show because the pieces in the show limn two tined ideas. He comments, “The title has a two-pronged meaning. First, during this pandemic, I observed that our anxieties and thoughts seem to go into overdrive, and there is that somewhat like an overgrowth of anxieties and thoughts happening in a lot of us. Secondly, it pertains to the foliage growing out of the heads and bodies.” This is an entirely new style as his past works would only limit the foliage inside subjects’ heads.
Inside the resin blocks are hand-cut archival images of foliage from books and digital prints primarily based on anatomical drawings. Pancho says, “My past art exhibits have always been like this. I also was inspired by vintage anatomical drawings by re-using them. They were used for study before, and now I can use them in my works and make them into something else. Also, the same way in re-using old books on plants to get those images of the plants in my work. That’s the main thrust of my work: re-using old images meant for something else and now being something else. I guess that’s the whole meaning of collage.” The images of people for this series of works taken from Michaelangelo’s fresco in the Sistine Chapel called “Last Judgement” complement the images and highlight their meanings.
Pancho spent four and a half months working on this outstanding art exhibit. It entails pouring countless thin layers of resin to achieve that three-dimensional effect. Each piece takes about a little over a month to complete. He says that the resin sets overnight, so that’s why it takes a long time.
Writer Carlo Doana notes,” Though dark, difficult phases in the inner life such as “uncertainty” are acknowledged, the affirmation of spiritual truths in the works resounds more prominently. In light of the pandemic, climate change, and other devastations transpiring in the different parts of the world, perhaps a return to something fundamental and essential may provide well-being and some of the answers we are looking for. After all, what we see as reality is partly a projection of internal mechanisms and processes. Overgrowth soars into the depths of being human, suggesting that whatever we find there has the potential to spill over into our lives, fracturing the old and giving birth to the new.”
“Amid Great Doubt and Uncertainty” and “OVERGROWTH” are on view from September 22 to October 13, 2021, at Blanc Gallery, 145 Katipunan Avenue, Quezon 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.