Text by James Tana; Images by the artist
Back in Talisay for an artist-in-residence program this 2020, artist and printmaker Mars Bugaoan feels nostalgic about his solo exhibition in 2016 held at the Balay ni Tana Dicang, an ancestral bahay-na-bato. Bugaoan recounts that a lot has changed in Talisay, Negros Occidental within 5 years— there are newly built roads and business infrastructures. Amid these changes, the city has maintained the things that he holds dearly such as the breathtaking yet familiar sceneries and the contagious energy of the people.
Bugaoan titled the exhibition after a children’s game, that in order to perform and eventually win it, the game requires accuracy in hand gestures which correspond to different measurements. The game as a metaphor is suggestive of Bugaoan’s artistic process where addition, reduction, and exhaustion take place, up to the point where everything becomes cyclical.
The artist, for his second solo show, under Kapitana Gallery, takes inspiration in capturing nature’s beauty, frailty, and decay, all at the same time, through abstraction. For his “IMP(L)ASTO” series, Bugaoan melts and crumples wire mesh and plastic materials to recreate landscapes and seascapes models he documented through photographs.
In “Under The Same Star” which serves as an ”introspection about vulnerability and impermanence”, Bugaoan creates rubber cut prints and installation of dried banana leaves he found in the backyard. The exhibition becomes a testament of time and space as it also examines the notion of absence and the state of “now, being fully absorbed [in the] present moment”, says Bugaoan in an interview with Art+.
Bugaoan recalls the dilemma and anxiety he experienced during the final stage of his residency and upon the implementation of a month-long lockdown due to the worldwide health crisis. This, in one way or another, is somehow reflective of the negotiations and balancing acts that artists like Bugaoan have to deal with in a time of pandemic: to use the Internet as an alternative platform and space in showcasing the works.
“Appear Disappear 1/2 1/4” is the culmination of Bugaoan’s residency in Talisay, Negros Occidental, supported by ABungalow Artists’ Residency Program and Adrian Lizares and presented by Kapitana Gallery.