NATURE, trees in particular, emerged as the theme of the joint exhibit of painter Del Garcia and sculptor/carver Benny Pagayon. With the double title “Honest Expressions/Emerging Imagery,” the exhibit, which runs until Oct. 13 at Le Soufflé in The Fort, celebrated nature—its imagery, beauty and the message it holds for all who behold it.My husband and I took particular joy and pride in being present at the exhibit opening as Del and his wife Becky have been our friends for many years. Del was with Pie at the Art and Audio-Visual Section of the Corporate Affairs Office of San Miguel Corp., and upon leaving the corporate setting returned to what he calls his “first love,” painting.Indeed, many of the pieces on exhibit looked familiar, and we recognized them as scenes we glimpse in the as yet untamed garden of our home in Alfonso, Cavite near Tagaytay. We got quite a kick spotting the trees in our lot, as well as the landscape of adjacent lots. Clearly, Del was doing more than just taking in the cool air during his many visits throughout the phases of the house’s construction.Del calls his painterly expressions “honest” because, like the Impressionists he emulates, he believes in “capturing reality and depicting what (one) sees at a given moment.” It’s no small accomplishment to take such everyday items like trees, branches, roots, and even seascapes and turn them into images that delight and leave distinct impressions.
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I MADE a faux pas when I first spotted Benny’s pieces, asking if they were sculptural pieces or found objects. It turns out they’re both. To fully appreciate the artist’s work, though, one needs to pick up the tree roots, branches or bark and examine them carefully. For on these wood pieces are carved images that Benny alone discerned, enhanced by strokes of a knife or whatever tool he had in hand, including a screwdriver.Benny found his calling when, handling some driftwood and pieces of dead uprooted trees, he “saw” images in the whorls and knots, rings and patterns and decided to outline them, adding features like eyes, feathers or limbs when necessary.To experience Benny’s artworks, then, is to engage in an intimate, almost archeological, viewing. Holding the pieces up close, one needs to search for the images “emerging” from the surrounding wood, an experience full of surprise and discovery, and sometimes, even the thrill of exploration.He may be working with “dead” wood, but Benny proves that with the mind’s eye fully opened to possibilities, it is possible to give new life even to pieces we would otherwise discard and dismiss as mere junk, waste material.
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HONEST EXPRESSIONS texts by : Nick Tayag
Del Garcia About more than a year ago started concentrating on visual painting which his actually his first love. Graduate of Fine Arts Major in Advertising arts at the University of the East School of Music and Arts in 1970. He pursued that carreer to work in a medium size advertising agency for many years and became art editor at the Corporate Communications Office of San Miguel Corporation (they also gave a well appreciated support in this exhibit ) ; transferred again for a short period in another agency and later became a free lance art director up to year 2005 ,after which he started to concentrate on painting which is his first love. Although not touching the brush for so long, the style is in his mind but now started executing it.
The theme is basic: Nature- favourite subjects are tress and brooks. He started painting trees as a small child using poster colors and always challenged to do them giving them as small gifts for friends. The style is more on realistic impressions a little influence from the French impressionists who revolutionized the so called realists on that period . In addition to that, the love for nature and its elements is reinforced by the consciousness of concerned citizens to preserve the environment
Del believes that a painting to capture the reality of the subject need not be so polished (although he did some polished and not so polished ones for the experience), but has highly respect to all artist who does that method. Only for him it is safe art compared to singing without ‘belting’ or soaring to high notes. Impressions are bold brave strokes, daring, who’s spontaneity has good results, achieving realism and more manifestations of feelings. Oil, acrylic specially watercolour has mind of its own these mediums has good abilities they are good vehicles only it’s up to the driver how to handle it. Another analogy is a signature of a person, signature is spontaneous projecting the character of a person one’s fine tuned no longer, his signature,no longer an Honest Expression.
Take the case of the so called ‘plein painters’ painters who execute paintings on the spot- Del admire the beauty of spontaneity because they have to catch up with the moving time, existing daylights and soon realizing the good results that the paintings has movements. Although Del take pictures of landscape from camera he tries to to do it in spontaneity, tries to put himself on the time he’s taking those subjects.