Galerie Anna presents a solo exhibition of Mel Cabriana, titled “Hidden.” The show opens today, August 21, at 6 pm.
A glimpse of pristine paradise – such as where Genesis must have occurred - dominates the vision of Mel Cabriana, whose paintbrush coaxes the hidden underbrush to hover into view. In the Biblical text, the Fall of Man has centered on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which the Creator had placed in order to test the loyalty of Adam and Eve. Hidden in all that natural splendor is the serpent whose mission was to mock them into committing the sin of pride: of becoming greater than their Creator.
While visibly celebrating the beauty and purity of nature, captured in the lush and dense foliage and greenery, Cabriana introduces an ominous tone, suggesting its eventual destruction and death.
Stepping onto the stage of surrealism, the artist presents the specter of plastics as the virulent instrument of villainy in this impending scenario. As well, the sanctity of nature has been desecrated by the presence of a rusty litter of metallic junk. These are now the contemporary serpents of our environment, and while starkly present in our midst, we have so chosen to close our eyes on them that they remain…hidden.
Created by technology purportedly in the service of humanity, plastics as the non-biodegradable material which man irresponsibly disposes of, clogging waterways and oceans, will eventually cover the earth leading to its extinction. Cabriana utilizes the image of plastic sheets, shaped and molded to take on the tender form of Mother and Child or the Pieta. The word plastic comes from the Greek word “plasticos” which means “capable of being shaped or molded.”
Mel Cabriana’s “Hidden” paintings are splendid reminders, communicating by turns a message of hope and a dire warning.
“Hidden” runs until Sept 3.
Galerie Anna is at the 4/L, The Artwalk, Bldg. A, SM Megamall, EDSA corner Julia Vargas Ave., Mandaluyong City. For inquiries, call tel no: 470-2511. Mobile: 0939-9127930.


“COMMUNE” – Lakbay Kalikasan at  SM Art Center


A journey into intimacy with nature is the inspirational force behind the Aroma Art Academy, a band of Cebuano artists impelled to record, document, and perpetuate the slowly vanishing beauty and solitude of the countryside. Now on view at the Art Center, SM megamall, “Commune” is the appropriate title of the show as the word suggests an intense communication with the mystery of nature, an immersion into the wonders of rarely viewed places in the province of Cebu.

Participating  artists are Orley Ypon, Jun Impas, Darby Alcoseba, Luis King, Mark Lloyd Belicario, Randy Plarisan, Bobier Crispin, and Romulo Pautan.

Collectively, they come from  successive generations of Cebuano artists representing the artistic heirs of Cebuano master Martino Abellana, who encouraged his students to paint directly from nature. It is noteworthy to mention that Abellana himself was mentored by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo at the UP School of Fine Arts. Amorsolo regularly  painted outdoors, journeying on weekends with fellow artists to the countryside of Marikina, Bulacan and Tagaytay.

The French term “Plein air” is the  traditional  category for painting outdoors, meaning “in the open air.”  Outdoor was  popularized by the Impressionists such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Theodore Bazille, who as young students in Paris were inspired by the so-called Barbizon painters. A village  near the forest of Fontainebleau outside the city of Paris, the French painters, such as Theodore Rousseay, Jean-Francois Millet, and Charles-Francois Daubigny and Camille Corot,  made the French landscape the subject of their painting. They were themselves inspired by the example of the English artist John Constable, the Romantic painter whose  rural scenes  were painted directly from nature.

Following this tradition, the Aroma Art Academy also travelled to unexplored localities and remote areas  in Toledo, such as Aloguinsan, Pinamungajan, and Sodlon.

Orley Ypon now paints with loose brushstrokes, in contrast to the  previous realistic  renditions  of  his so-called “mud people.” Recalling the bathing maidens of Amorsolo, Jun Impas gives a private view of Cebuana lasses  with their lissome bodies drenched wet in a stream.  Crispin Bobier  depicts a hardy farmer departing  from his lowly shack with his  daily “co-worker.” Mark Belicario discovers erotically suggestive images in nature. Amosolo-esque is Randy Plarisan’s flowing stream and bamboo groves. Romulo Pautan captures the solitude of a deserted dwelling place shrouded with overcast skies. Lately taking up the brush, Luis King is drawn towards the serene and the pastoral, but evocative of Monet’s  restless  brushstrokes. A tangle of thick underbrush and a wild vegetation of shrubs and bushes are the woodsy setting of Daryl Alcoseba.

Emotionally swept by their deep communion with Cebu’s countryside, the artists of Aroma Art Academy share their pictorial talent with the Metro Manila public, parched for the spiritually nourishing and refreshing  aesthetic bounty of nature.

                                                -CID REYES









Ricky Ambagan takes us in a Joy Ride

An artist is driven by personal experiences that have

shaped his life, particularly in one’s youth. These then become

the source of their visual images, providing a bedrock of

memories that linger not just in their memories but on their

canvases: creations and products of their artistic passions

transformed into a reality of figures and colors.

Ricky Ambagan is no exception. His current solo exhibition

at the Galerie Anna is drawn from a wellspring of memories,

and as the artist remarks, “ For me, riding a jeepney is like a

time machine experience, particularly the “Patok” jeepney. It

originated from the town of Montalban, Rizal. It was like riding

a sports loaded with loud music. The “Patok” jeepney has the

fast and furious ability to maneuver the traffic jam during rush


With this show, Ambagan takes the viewer on a veritable

joy ride, re-creating for us, allowing us to experience the

physical thrill of the speedy ride, the dense crowd and

cacophony of noises which are the daily facts and travails of

living in the metropolis. But Ambagan does more than

physically illustrate this experience. Indeed, he derives and

imparts lessons on Pinoy culture, family relationships,

religiosity, and history, with amusing allusions to topical and

contemporary events, as reflected in our pop songs and

impassioned faith. Nationalism is prefigured by the National

Hero Jose Rizal in a jeepney, seated on its entrance floor.

Suggestive of the Christ is a long-haired and bearded passenger.

The immense crowd that gathered in the streets welcoming the

visit of Pope Francis, hardly seen in a blazing radiance of white

light, bespeaks of our country’s ardent Catholicism. Local color

is splashed in the balloons and cotton candies and iced drinks

that comfort the harassed drivers and motorists who are on the

verge of a road rage. Here are glimmerings of young love and

romantic assignations where the jeepney itself becomes the

frequent place of rendesvouz.

Deja Vu Revisions

“Déjà vu Revisions”

The French term “déjà vu” literally means “already seen.”

Cezar Arro reflects on his early memories of art influenced by

antiquity, reconciling his own contemporary visions of reality

and conflating them with images that gained ground in ancient

times, at the same time evading the classical and academic

rigors of execution.

The works have a dream-like quality, not in the lyrical

sense, but of a world imagined out of a dark Gothic

imagination. For Arro, the human body in all its despairing or

exalted state, in gestures contorted by suffering, or stilled by

fear and anxiety, will always be the vessel of emotion that

cannot be equalled by the stone bodies lining up the European

cathedrals whence Gothic art first emerged in the medieval


With a restless imagination prodding the artist, Arro

advances his own work which has earned him a measure of

recognition – the emergence of faces of famous celebrities in

pop culture buried under a dense tapestry of abstract gestural

forms. His revisionist works by his idol, Picasso, are by turns an

act of appropriation and a “re-visioning” of masterpieces which

he transforms into his own interpretation, itself a process of

absorption of the spirit of the Spanish master.

To be sure, Arro does not de-construct Picasso’s more

famous works, so much as re-creates them, or re-duplcates

them in the manner of a Mike Bidlo, as insinuates his own

artistic existence within the psychic confines of the fame, not to

speak of the fortune, that has engulfed such works as Femme

au Jardin (Woman in the Garden), La Reve (The Dream) and La

Femme Qui Pleure (Weeping Woman). Interestingly, these

works were inspired by Picasso’s serial mistresses, Marie

Therese Walter and Dora Maar. Of course, Picasso’s most

famous mural Guernica, which is regarded as the most

powerful and quintessential condemnation of war, undergoes a

re-working but retaining the dynamic armature of its


Arro’s revisions of masterpieces are not frontal attacks of

desecration but a tender, mirthful, and un-intimidated homage

to originals whose ultimate personal meaning for each viewer is

only as vivid and as emotional as the individual’s past and

present , a life lived as “déjà vu” – always and already seen.



Othoniel “Otto” Neri presents his solo exhibition titled

“Convergence” at Galerie Anna, opening on May 18, 2017.

A conflict of cultures, between the East and the West,

manifesting itself in the Great Divide, engendering the turmoil

and tension both in the physical geo-political space and the

psychic polarities of colonial consequences, is at the core of

Neri’s recent works. But the seeming irreconcilability provoked

by the direct contact between two opposing forces is mollified

by the positive outlook of the hopeful theme “Convergence.”

Neri views the lessons of the country’s history through the

prism of a nativist’s pop sensibility, drawn with the imprint of

typical Pinoy humor that, for instance, transmogrifies the

legendary Mactan hero Lapu-Lapu into the chefs’ favorite fish.

In “Resistance,” the giant-esque fish proceeds to feast on the

unwelcome Portuguese explorer and island intruder.

In “Disoriented,” the artist’s Pop humor alludes to Andy

Warhol and his Marilyn Monroe, with her perpetually half-

opened luscious mouth and mounds of seductive flesh, even as

the dark-skinned tribes are flummoxed into a state of pent-up


Another Pop icon, the Mona Lisa in “What Keeps You

Smiling,” depicts the mysterious Florentine lady in the company

of the native indias, in a symbolic hybridity of our country’s

culture, a mixed in-breeding of Oriental and Western influences

that have shaped the character and culture of the race. Indeed,

a large work “The Culprits,” even panders to the Pinoy joke

adverting to the killers of Lapu-Lapu, the chefs as salivating

tribesmen around a boiling cauldron.

Closer to the nerve is “Back Off,” which touches on the

currently simmering geopolitical conflict in the South China

sea, and where the artist chooses to depict the festive and

gaily-colored Dragon Dance as it slowly but surely inches its

way into Philippine territory.

In an irreverent seizing of our unique native sensibility,

referencing history as a Pop granary of images, Othoniel “Otto”

Neri, while not resolving the paradoxes of history, nonetheless

celebrates with his own delicious cauldron of Pinoy


The show runs until June 2.

Galerie Anna is at the 4/L, The Artwalk, Bldg. A, SM

Megamall, EDSA corner Julia Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City.

For inquiries, call tel nos: 470-2511 and 470-9869. Mobile:

0939-9127932 and 0936-7139212. Website: