Reflections of 3 artists

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

THE art exhibits at Gallery Orange in Mandalagan always fascinate me. I regularly pass by the place on my way to work. But meeting some of the artists last week just doubled the enchantment.

As I write about ‘Happy Trip,’ a fund-raising art exhibition that opened on Feb. 15 and runs until Feb. 28, I get to meet three of the 18 featured Negrense contemporary artists.

They are Moreen Austria, Darel Javier, and Cindy Ballesteros.


Moreen describes her works as represented by mostly women, a soul of an individual learning about humanity, wandering the world of reality.

Moreen has been painting since she was a kid but needed to suppress her passion and have a regular job because as a mother with mouths to feed, that seemed more practical.

But when she turned 35, she finally took the courage to pursue her childhood dream. Trying hard to divert her attention from art for so long, Moreen finally decided to quit her job as a medical representative and concentrate on her first love, which is painting. Since 2011, she has been a full-time artist.

As an artist, Moreen already considers herself to be well-rounded for she can paint using any medium. She does oil, acrylic, watercolor and even charcoal and does not limit herself to explore more.

“The more interaction with the fellow artists, and travels, the more you tend to push yourself to do more as an artist,” she shares.

Her works serves as a reflection of herself; she even hides words behind her works. But when she visited Florence in Europe, there she found another inspiration. She saw a sculpture made of metal and that moved her to enroll in TESDA and learn welding. After her schooling, she started to venture the world of sculpture. In the gallery, you can see one of her sculpture, the ‘Black Cupid.’

“Black Cupid” for she believes that nothing could be more mysterious than love and what love could be capable of. She says that during the time she was doing the sculpture she is reading a book about the dark Visayan mythical creatures.

On March 16, Moreen will have her first sculpture exhibit at Balay ni Tanadika Kapitana Gallery in Talisay.

For Darel, there is no instant fix in art land. Art is evolving, and as time passes by, artists must keep up with the changing world.

Darel grew up in a family of artists. In 1969, his father, Eduardo Javier, made the longest wood mural in Asia, which can be found at the Philippine National Bank (PNB) Building in Lacson Street, Bacolod.

Darel is an architect. He graduated from La Consolacion College in Bacolod and decided to go to the US to practice his degree. Though he is working as an architect, he also gives time to his hobby, which is painting.

But in 2011, when he and his family decided to go back to the Philippines, he decided to take painting not just a hobby but as a profession. Cubism is his style.

Living again in the Philippines and seeing the works of fellow artists, he realized that his style is way behind compared to other artists. His first solo exhibit was at Gallery Orange in 2011. He joined Philippine Arts Award in 2012 but he did not win because, he seems to think, of his style and it served as his eye opener.

Then he made up his mind to shift to M.C Escher style of work to keep with the pace. M.C Escher style indulges with the use of irregular perspectives that are impossible in natural form. His wife and son served as his fiercest critics.

Starting from sketching, he realized what he wants to do. In his paintings, architecture and arts is combined. And it can be seen in two of his artworks in the gallery.

Cindy is not only a painter but she has also been into theatre, film, television, and stage shows.

She started drawing when she was a child but she stopped, for she thought that it was not good enough for her.

Cindy also loves music. In fact, she was a disc jockey before for Jamie@ 102.3 and from then on, she started to sing in a band.

A nursing graduate who pursued her love for the arts, she had her first painting exhibit with Junjun Montelibano at the Gallery Orange in September 2007 entitled “Warped.”

Just like any other artists who decided to divert their attention to a different world away from art, Cindy did the same.

She started painting when her father died in 2001. It was her “escape world” from reality. When she entered college, she rediscovered her love for art when she became a member of USLS Production Support Group.

She uses oil on canvas in her works. She currently has two paintings at the Gallery. On March 15, Cindy will have her first solo show at the Gallery Orange.

Aside from Moreen, Darel and Cindy, the 15 other artists and their works now on exhibit at Gallery Orange are: Roderick Tijing-Early Christmas; Matt Yrad-Last Flight of the Baba-Yuga; Mikiboy Pama- Valentine Underthe Violet Moon; Hilario Campos III-Hi; Susanito Sarnate-Trip; Tristram Miravelles-October 12;

Guinnevere Decena- Emptiness to Everything and Inside Out; Junjun Montelibano-Wine,Woman and Song; Karina Broce Gonzaga-Elusive Fine Days; Frelan Gonzaga-Mimi; Joe Geraldo- Payaso;

Holtz Javier-Life in a Day; Jovito Hecita- Farewell; Jay-r Delleva-Caught Between Inspiration and Temptation; and Peter James Fantinalgo- Sense of the Nonsense (Do what you want & Listen to me).

“Happy Trip” exhibition features works in different media by 18 home-grown artists from Negros. It is their fund-raising activity to be able to represent Bacolod in “Art in the Park” in Makati City on March 23.

Art in the Park is an annual day art fair that highlights Philippine contemporary artists from all over the country. (Ana Patricia C. Talam)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 25, 2014.


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