To celebrate a decade of representation with Silverlens, the gallery presents Patricia Perez Eustaquio’s “Still Life”.
An awarding-winning artist, Patricia Perez Eustaquio looks at human appetite, excess and the vanity of objects.
Working across a variety of media, Patricia Perez Eustaquio‘s work explores the integrity and vanity of objects. In “Still Life”, Eustaquio applies traditional techniques that are reminiscent of art-historical terminology and iconography. In doing so, she alludes “to contemporary martyrs of human excess and appetite”, key themes in her practice which dominate her current show in the Manila-based Silverlens Gallery.
The exhibition draws parallels with her previous show from 2004, “Swine”, which considered ideas surrounding appetite, and the artist’s concerns as a prior vegetarian.
Eustaquio’s work is occupied with “shadows, fragments, discards and detritus,” as she explains in her artist statement. Working across various media, including painting, drawing and installation, fabric has recently become a key part of her work, creating sculptures through shrouding objects with silk or crochet, before removing the object to leave what she calls a “ghost”, a minus object, or empty carcasses that are evocative of questions surrounding memory and perception.
In “Still Life”, visitors can view her full oeuvre across disciplines and media; from her ornately shaped canvases to sculptures shrouded by fabric. Wrought objects, from furniture, textile, brass and glasswork, take over the gallery space, providing
commentary on the mutability of our perception, as well as on the constructs of desirability and how it influences life and culture in general.
“Still Life” builds on my practice and artistic concerns of materialism and consumerism. I have always explored the notion or the idea of still life as a movement characterized not only by the uplifting of the banal or the everyday, but also the vanity in which the objects are rendered, to appeal to the tastes and demands of its time.
By vanity, Eustaquio is referring to the ephemeral nature of objects, their place within a commercialised society, and their ultimate emptiness and artifice: literally personified and symbolised here, by the empty casing of fabric on display in the gallery.
The sense of reverence the society has for objects and the need to own them is considered in depth in the exhibition, through her exploration of human appetites, something she represents through her visceral canvases of slaughtered pig and cow carcasses. For the artist, these images link to more wider issues surrounding imperialism and global expansion:
Of course, I feel that the animal carcasses serve as metaphors for other martyrs of human appetite, and our current global situation, and my own Philippine experience of political and social instability were not far from my mind. However, the more “benign” vegetables were also in a way objects affected by such appetites. The fruits and vegetables I piled onto the cornucopia are those that the Spanish empire “introduced” to the rest of the world because they had colonized South America and the Philippines.
The narrative there, of seeking prized objects and of the effects of such endeavors, touches on historical and current social and political spheres that are worth investigating. Our desire to seek, to own (objects), only to cast them aside when tastes have changed and seek a new one, is a repeating narrative in our domestic, social lives.
The continuous arc between life and death, the beauty and gore related to this arc, and how our sensibilities or perceptions are challenged by the vanity in which they are represented. “Still Life” is about objects, and objects of desire, and yet the macabre is ever present. And it seems that no matter how commonplace such macabre images become, they still have the power to repel or repulse, no matter how ornately done or masked. I find this interesting.
Eustaquio is the first artist represented by Silverlens, and the recipient of the Thirteen Artists Awards by the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2009. She has gained recognition through residencies abroad, including Art Omi in New York and Stichting Id11 of the Netherlands. She has exhibited at the Parisian Palais de Tokyo and was part of the 2016 Singapore Biennale.
Exhibiting with the gallery since 2008, Eustaquio counts herself as their ‘oldest’ artist. Founded by Isa Lorenzo and Rachel Rillo in 2004, Silverlens aims to “place its artists within the broader framework of the contemporary art dialogue”, transcending the borders of Asian art communities.
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- Wilting Forms, Capricious Appetites: Filipino artist Patricia Perez Eustaquio – in conversation – November 2016 – Art Radar chats with Filipino artist Patricia Perez Eustaquio about her latest series of paintings and her artistic pursuits
- “Oceanic feeling”: Sriwhana Spong and Maria Taniguchi at ICA Singapore – September 2016 – The Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore presents a major survey exhibition of New Zealand artist Sriwhana Spong and Filipino Maria Taniguchi
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