About the exhibit
My new series of paintings is called AWAKENING. It’s my 2nd solo exhibit showcasing 9 oil paintings on canvas size 4×3 feet and 5×4 feet. It shows deconstructed human figures placed in a raw abstract space, portraying different characters and events inspired from personal experiences. Each piece reveals a hidden truth which I hope to acknowledge through my process of self discovery. It’s something I hold dear to me, and I hope others could find meaning in it as well. I was set to have this show in Manila House BGC last April, but due to the pandemic, an online show was the only attainable way to share my work. So I pushed through with it virtually through my website, opening it to the public on June 7.
View the exhibit here: https://ikajpaintings.com/#/awakening/
My personal work is very introspective, and I paint it for myself. It’s like a diary where I pour out all my thoughts and emotions. So it’s an outlet, especially since I’m not so good with words and I’m an introvert, painting these is my way of expression.
For the process of my Awakening series, it started when I’d keep track of the time when I’d feel an intense emotion sparked by either a memory, a current experience, or maybe an event in the past that I’ve been trying to hide but continues to bother me. And then I’d draw/sketch the feeling on my sketchbook—much like writing in a diary. That’s why the titles of each piece includes a numerical time, to remind me of these events. For example, one is feeling this fear of losing someone (i.e. “Keep 21:00”), feeling confident (i.e. “Woman 07:00”), excitement (i.e. “Wonder 02:20”), and anxiety (i.e. “Lucky Dragon 12:00”).
After the sketch, I’ll do some color studies and paint it on the canvas. I felt the need to paint them on large canvases (up to 5×4 feet) because the emotions themselves are overwhelming for me, and I want to experience the vision in a large scale to reflect that.
Through the process of painting, I paint several layers building up colors from dark to light, so it takes a lot of time working on them (a duration of one month for each work). And every time I paint, I think about it. This time allows me to analyze the situation. Am I overthinking? Why did this happen? Why do I react this way? Is there another side of the story? I’m pushed to relive the story again and again while painting, and in the end figure out how to accept, adjust, change, or improve myself.
It’s like a therapy session with myself. I acknowledge my feelings, thoughts, and beliefs, whether rational or irrational, and in the end I learn to move on. I am calmer now, can handle things better everyday, and can see things clearer. I’m so glad I figured out how to help myself this way. I feel like I finally grew up.
Exhibiting online during lockdown
The virtual exhibit was open to the public on June 7, and will stay in my website for good. I’m still hoping to have a physical exhibit, but still have to arrange this with Manila House on the date. It all depends on the GCQ guidelines when they can open again.
I know that pushing through with a virtual show during a pandemic is risky. It surely will have an effect in audience impact and sales when people won’t see the pieces in person, and I did take this into consideration. However, I made these paintings to fulfil a personal purpose. I started this in 2018 (I did take a long time since I work on other things like teach in UP Fine Arts and do portrait commissions) so that’s a total of two years in the making. Despite being in a global crisis with COVID-19, this Awakening story is about my present, and since I’m continuously changing, I should push through with it and put this out to the world now as part of my process of moving on. And so I’m ready to start a new series again for next year.
For the formal artist statement, please refer to the text below.
About the Exhibit
written by Tessa de Guzman Prieto
Awakening is an intimate look into a world
of restless color and spontaneous feeling.
It plunges into wild landscapes of vivid emotion,
where fragments of faces, forms, and everyday
scenes manage—just barely—to break through:
a laborer at the end of the day, a player exhilarated
by the game; a woman fixated on identity; a woman
tickled by the living world; self-fragmenting anxiety,
a dragon friend in a stormy sea.
The exhibit chronicles the raw, rugged terrain
of an inner life scaled from one moment to the next.
In this hidden world, navigating joy to fear to desire
to hate to freedom, on and on and back again,
a few useful landmarks grow familiar—along with
the feeling that perhaps, one is not lost at all.
About the Artist
written by Tessa de Guzman Prieto
Obsessively charting moods and moments is how ikaj pursued the work of her second solo exhibition. The artist turns her gaze towards the characters and creatures that populate her experience of the world, the emotions that color it, chronicling on a scale that is up-close and-personal and larger-than-life all at once.
Jackie Hontiveros Lozano, as ikaj is otherwise known, obtained her degree in Visual Communication from UP Diliman College of Fine Arts. A brief apprenticeship followed and laid the foundations for her art practice in classical oil technique and painting from life. Tracing a path through advertising, design, and teaching, ikaj began painting full time in 2013 — producing the collections Glimpses, Universe, Anonymous, Sea of Dreams, and Nudes. For her first solo exhibition in 2018, her work focused on “figures to look up to”, titled — appropriately — Hero.
She returned to teaching at the UP College of Fine Arts in 2019 and continues to receive numerous commissions for portraits in her Anonymous style, an approach characterized by lightness and depth achieved through quickly layered palette knife strokes.
Her influences include Egon Schiele, Kent Williams, and contemporary philosopher Alain de Botton, a champion for art’s didactic role in society. She is fascinated by exaggerated, expressive, and contorted facial and body forms, the bold, flowing line work of pencil sketches, and the layering techniques of oil. She is working towards a personal style that embodies these qualities — a style she describes as figurative, illustrative, abstract, and chaotic — depicting subjects drawn from her experiences, recurring memories, and imagination.