The term ‘gathering point’ can mean several things, but it always turns out to be something good. It’s a meeting place, a stomping ground, or a hangout.
For four friends who hail from Angono, one of the country’s top art capitals, it is a reunion and a chance for them to showcase their art to a broader audience. The result is “Gathering Point,” their ongoing group show at ARTablado at Robinsons Galleria. It runs until November 30.
Jovito Andres, Edberth Roan, William Ner and Irwin Tolentino grew up in Angono, roughly 30 kilometers east of Manila. A small fishing village along Laguna de Bay in the province of Rizal, it has a laidback vibe that might have helped to cultivate dozens of artists and creatives.
Mentored by Angono native and esteemed visual artist Nemi Miranda, who is acknowledged as the Father of Imaginative Figurism, the four young artists went on to develop their respective art styles.
Jovito and Edberth were elementary school classmates and became fast friends because of their shared love for art.
“We met William at the high school art club and remained friends through college, where we took up Fine Arts at the University of Santo Tomas,” Jovito said. They later met Irwin at Angono Ateliers, the art group where they were all active members.
“We had our groups of friends, but since we all were passionate about making art, we were able to form strong bonds with one another,” Jovito said.
William and Irwin soon moved to the United States while Edberth transferred and busied himself with other pursuits. Only Jovito remained in Angono, where he honed a style of painting that hews to traditional Filipino family values using oil paints on canvas or wood panels and pastels on paper.
Jovito’s idealized depictions include a family unit complete with tatay, nanay, and bunso (youngest child) and separate paintings of Mother and child and even a Father and child. The latter features a father with his back turned to the viewer and carrying his young son who clutches a “lato lato”—a popular noisemaker that was the toy craze earlier this year.
Edberth prefers using charcoal or colored pencils to highlight the different tonal values of shadows and light on paper. Many of his drawings are of orchids, lily pads and water lilies seen from above, the plants’ surfaces dotted with beads of moisture. His koi series is an archetype invitation to explore the natural world with an elevated ecological consciousness. Edberth works with mixed media using intricate metalwork, gilded fibers, and other unusual everyday objects to produce unique pieces.
Using oil paints on Masonite board or canvas, William creates realistic and surreal paintings incorporating disparate elements like Lego bricks, a Pinocchio puppet, bunched-up fabric, and tiny storm clouds.
“Excruciate” is a painful closeup of what viewers might assume to be Christ’s twisted feet on the cross. William expresses his truth with a powerful blend of surreal elements and bold, symbolic imagery that beckons viewers to look closer.
Irwin Tolentino, creates abstract expressionist pieces that consist of acrylic paints and ink on watercolor paper. He employs action-packed paint splashes, organic drizzles, vivid color smears, and other texture-altering techniques to bring his pieces to life.
“Although we seldom get together, our friendship is still there. We still manage to joke around with each other, given the ease of communicating nowadays,” Jovito said.
“Gathering Point” is a way for the four friends to touch base once again, this time at ARTablado, a setting that—for several years now—has been a staunch supporter of Philippine creativity.
The exhibit at ARTablado at Robinsons Galleria runs until November 30.