Text and photos by Wilfred Dexter G. Tañedo
Eskinita Art Gallery’s “Connected Roots” is a well-conceived and well-balanced two-man show of upcoming Filipino contemporary sculptors, Dennis Jimenez and Josh Palisoc. It poises the artistic prowess and techniques of each artist as manifested on their art pieces rendered on their respective materials of choice, but it also transects into the exhibition’s theme of humanity, spirituality and divinity.
One can feel the cleverness of thought behind the exhibition by presenting ideas in complimenting contrast combinations such as: wood vs metal, sculpture techniques of subtractive method vs additive method, and even the artistic backgrounds of the exhibiting artists, self-taught vs academically trained. Yet in the end, the exhibition is able to deliver solid and endearing pieces that do not alienate but draws the audience deeper as they get lost in the surrealistic landscape of one piece to the touching and evocative heartfelt pieces of the other.
A concrete example of this thought is the installation and center piece of the exhibition, Josh Palisoc’s Sa Loob Matatagpuan ang Liwanag that fuses the bisected humanoid metal sculpture with floating tree branches that seemingly imploding from the light emanating from the inside of the halved body. The metal sculpture itself can be a stunning piece but placing it together with wooden elements brings marriage to the entirety of exhibition concept – of wood and metal. Palisoc’s smoldered metal works appear like wooden silvery branches glued together as it becomes human shells cracked into two or a human chest revealing the inside of its personhood through a sliver. In Alab ng Puso it is the human heart and for Sa Dibdib Mo’y Buhay it is a bouquet of flowers both are either hidden or sprouting from chest’s crevices but showcases the romantic leaning of the artist towards passion and memory.
If the metal pieces bring together whole ideas, Dennis Jimenez’s steampunk landscape on carved wooden pieces are a marvel to observe as small crooks and crannies takes you into an ethereal realm. But none is more relatable than the piece Triumph of Love which highlights the artist’s musing about human relationship as a mechanize thing that can be fixed and made to work even when the two faces seem to be drifting apart. His other piece, Connection, that looks like a futuristic hover craft motorcycle from afar but is actually a whimsical detail of animals and mechanized parts that looks like flowers creates a scene like that of Marc Chagall’s dreamscape paintings. Jimenez carving no doubt is par excellence as he carves on found and unconventional wood to create this wood works.
This article is part of a series of submissions from the “Art Writing for Media” workshop hosted by Art+ Magazine and Kwago.