“Splice” by Sam Penaso at Art Lounge Manila: Podium
October 23 – 31, 2022
Often flamboyantly garbed as the stripewalker in the bustling art scene, Sam Penaso has been associated for his colorful lines-and-splats bravura on his canvases. Bursting with paints in an almost abstract manner, Penaso profusely renders his brushstrokes done in textured hues with creative abandon.
In Splice, Penaso obsessively reverts again his artistic process and emphatically indulges in stainless realizations reprising his imaginative foray on steel in art which won for him the Philippine Art Awards and showcased in two exhibitions thereafter.
Crafted from the ores of the earth, stainless steel is better appreciated as public art as it can be welded, machined, bent and finished with many different surface effects to boot. In Philippine life, stainless steel commands its physical presence roaming in the streets in passenger jeepneys. Auto bodies, and rail cars, as well as, bridges and monuments are embraced with stainless steel in them. Domesticated at home, most kitchen wares and utensils including the sink are made of this colorless metal. Even the surgical tools and medical equipment makes up for this essential element.
Penaso dwells into steel like second nature because of its hands-on malleability and durability. A mere look at it revs up the imagination in him to wonders even amazing himself to heavens.
In Splice, his wall-bound pieces and sculptures have matured Penaso as an artist, as he maximizes the limits of steel by sheer creativity often eschewing the element of this cold alloy to limitless possibilities.
Astounding are his wall-bound pieces chosen from random images in more than 5,000 silkscreen platforms. Using gold, silver, or white Penaso meticulously transfers each of them before he welds them together. Depending on his mood and aesthetic attraction, an image has to appeal to Penaso’s liking. From the Mona Lisa to portraits of people from different walks of life, to body parts from eyes to bosom, to animals from dogs to birds. Even objects ranging from knives to basketball are all collectively present. What is remarkable is how Penaso composes his images in overwhelming gestalt-like effect mosaic. Just for this, Penaso remains effective in being contemporary in his visual acumen.
Sculptures are dance-like in elasticity for Penaso. There is no movement alien to Penaso, who is an active member of Tupada. Free standing they crawl like-vines, reaching you as if inviting to interact with them. Penaso does not censure himself often continuing from where he left off the following day in a 12-hour work ethic. A dream for Penaso is to breathe to life great monuments either in a park or forest for the public to appreciate.
The artistry of Sam Penaso stems not only from a creative talent but also skillful mastery of all elements that go into his materiality—the subjects, visual language, and functionality. Observing him take control at his studio one feels enthralled as if on a trance as he allows his art to command his thinking and feeling.
Stainless steel is the generic term used to represent the corrosion resistant alloys. This metal derives its name because it does not stain, rust, or corrode. It throws a glow of spark when fired or heated. While working, Penaso often sees his reflection as he finds his way through and by them. In seeing himself in Splice, Penaso sees other people’s reflection as well when his artworks are displayed in Art Lounge. Making us all one, equal, and the same.
The exhibition will run from October 23 – 31, 2022 at Art Lounge Manila – Podium, Ortigas Center. For more information, visit the Art Lounge Manila website, www.artloungemanila.com. You may also check their social media pages, FB: @artloungemanila IG: @artloungemanila, for more details.
Text and images courtesy of Art Lounge Manila.