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