Chromatic Vistas of Nature
In their two-person exhibition Puff Blossom, visual artists Babylyn Geroche Fajilagutan and Gean Brix Garcia take inspiration from that bright, airy feeling of being in nature. An experiment in colour and form, both artists recreate their surroundings on the canvas, presenting a body of work that explores the intersection of visual elements and medium.
Fajilagutan’s pieces are a direct continuation of her Organic series. As in previous exhibitions, she builds her works around a study on colour; in Puff Blossom, however, the emphasis is that on nature. She employs a base of varying shades of blue, referencing both the skies and waters on which she sews pieces of paper painted over to look like wispy clouds, jagged terrain of amorphous landforms, and the sinuous roots of plant life, among other things. At a glance, they seem to resemble still lifes of natural landscapes, akin to topographic maps, with each natural feature made distinct by contoured lines and colours, but rendered in Fajilagutan’s own distinct style. While her pieces aren’t as explicit in that they feed the viewer the image of such terrain, the harmony of colours and arrangement of materials on the canvas suggest something immanently familiar, and in each semi-abstract element we manage to find a little bit of our own personal surroundings.
Garcia, on the other hand, expounds on the theme from a more intimate perspective, drawing influence from his local setting, particularly houses in his neighbourhood that have an abundance of flowers and plant life. His works feature backyards and interiors of homes adorned with skillfully painted flora and lush greenery which grow over walls and even the figures’ garments, almost as if they were fusing with the subjects themselves. The pieces possess that surrealist, dream-like aspect familiar to Garcia’s other works, but in Puff Blossom, he uses the opportunity to depict the diversity of plant life as a means to explore colour and how it coalesces into the overarching visual narrative he seeks to represent in his body of works.
More than anything, Puff Blossom is artmaking in action. Fajilagutan and Garcia regard the exhibition as an ongoing experiment on the ways in which they, as artists, manipulate their medium to achieve a desired outcome, whether it be by employing specific techniques or processes, or infusing particular elements into their works. In this exhibition, the chromatic boundlessness of each artist’s craft takes centre stage, and as a result, what is created are measureless vistas of nature rendered keenly on canvas.