KUNG SA TAMBOBONG
Ernie Patricio’s 8th solo exhibit
September 14 to October 4, 2013: AIMS Museo Maritimo
August 5 to August 28, 2013: vMeme Contemporary Art Gallery
MEMORY AND IMAGINATION:
Ernie Patricio’s waterscapes as imprints of both
by Avie Felix
Our country is at crossroads. In fact, the whole humanity is at crossroads. With the Earth’s biocapacity decreasing rapidly over the past few decades and more so in recent years, the unbelievable calamities occurring to the point that seemingly regular downpours become panic signals of floods and landslides, and extreme unpredictability of temperature are unimaginable that Christmas breeze would sometime mean the beginning of summer, we definitely are at a loss.
However, our tendency to adapt to conditions is very strong – in fact too strong to a point that we easily forget our dreams to have a beautiful backyard or a well-maintained garden and get content with a pot of flowering plant in a polished studio home on 37th floor. To say that we have a high level of adaptability, in our case, may even be an understatement.
Unfortunately, adaptability may only be exclusive to urban-dwellers and hyper-realistic professionals. Perhaps this so-called adaptability is an imagined state given the fact that we do not see the periphery.
In this exhibit, Mr. Ernie Patricio gives us a visual account of what climate change really means. To city dwellers who only had Ondoy and last year’s habagat as actual experiences of this phenomenon, Patricio’s works are a window to the actuality of an unfolding tragedy. What happened to us in 2009 or 2012 may still be happening to people in nearby towns.
Although the paintings rely on nostalgia and sometimes the irony of melancholia and solitude, KUNG SA TAMBOBONG is a collective imagery of the dilemma we face in a manner that challenges our concepts of memory and imagined memory. How sure are we that the utopic scenes we see are familiar? When did we last see a beautiful riverscape in actual form? Scenes in the periphery (fishermen scraping rust for a living, boats immobile in a zero life river, or stilts half-submerged) may even be the more realistically familiar.
At this point, in 2013, how do we deal with increasing modernity and our vulnerability to issues such as commerce, unemployment, poverty, weak governance and most importantly, the environment? Given the uncontrollable situation, what do we have to prepare for?
In this exhibit, Mr. Patricio is not in the business of providing answers; he engages us to respond to an idea of memory that may even be too far to ever be remembered in a few years. He utilizes his highly sophisticated technique as watercolorist to present over 50 works coming from years of immersion in an environment where climate change (its effects and causes) is most visible. Visually impressive and moving, these works echo an artist’s nostalgia towards a remembered past and hope for an imagined future. They speak of life – its presence and possible absence.