Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Abstraction requires a certain mindset. The artist needs to balance his emotions with an affinity for his chosen medium. It also requires a desire to experiment and push the boundaries of what his practice can accomplish. What more when two abstractionists hold an exhibition together?

Philosopher Jean Piaget said that, "Reflective abstraction, however, is based not on individual actions but on coordinated actions." Perhaps this is the best way to describe the two man show of artists Ross Capili and Pinggot Zulueta. The two artists are stalwarts in the field of photography and photojournalism, but both have burgeoning abstraction practices that are complex and highly nuanced. Individually, they translate the process of photography into abstracted forms that reveals both intellectual depth and technical talent. The resulting show is a combination of these two practices of like-minded artists, using their artworks as a staging point into a larger discourse into the nature of balance.

The exhibition, entitled "2 Views," brings these two artists together for the first time. It will open at Galerie Francesca in Megamall on September 1 at 6:00PM. Galerie Francesca is located on the 4th floor of SM Megamall Building A, Mandaluyong City. They may be reached through their landline phone at (632) 570-9495 or email at

Multi-awarded artist Ross Capili uses the flowing nature of Asian calligraphy as an inspiration for his new works. Using the spontaneity associated with Chinese and Japanese calligraphy, Capili works with glass and lacquered acrylic to bring about a different kind of art. The series was first conceptualized in 1998 for a show in Ayala Museum. However, the lacquer fumes were difficult to deal with. So Capili spent the next few years working on the series, and the works in the exhibition will be the first time the public can view them. 

With over 30 exhibits under his belt in a career that spans decades, Capili's works in the exhibit not only reflects on the entirety of his oeuvre, but his philosophies as well. "Floating Thoughts," for instance, can be viewed through the prism of emotional calm. Like many of the works, the painting wasn't planned, giving it a "soft" touch that radiates with tranquillity.  Likewise, "Song Imprints," is an abstraction of what Capili feels when listening to one of his cherished vinyl records. 

The works of Jose "Pinggot" Zulueta, on the other hand, is an evolution of his abstract practice that now examines the role of geometric figurations to the concept of balance and harmony. The UST-educated Zulueta is ostensibly known for his Manila Bulletin series on the work spaces of visual artists, Zulueta's concern is of the multidude of perspectives that abstraction can afford. "Chasing Lines I" is representative of this approach. Against a purely abstracted backdrop, Zulueta uses lines in ever-changing viewpoints that allows the viewer to consider the very nature of perspective.

The works of both Ross Capili and Pinggot Zulueta come together in this one-of-a-kind exhibition that also serves as a precursor to their participation in the  2014 Langkawi Art Biennale and the 2014 Malacca International Contemporary Art Festival in Malaysia. "2 Views" is an art event that definitely should not be missed. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Above Us Only Sky, 3x5ft, mixed media, 2014

“Line is a rich metaphor for the artist. It denotes not only boundary, edge or contour, but is an agent for location, energy, and growth. It is literally movement and change - life itself. “ – Lance Esplund

The words of noted art critic Lance Esplund perhaps best represents the natural evolution of Pinggot Zulueta’s work into what it is today. Hislatest collection depicts the product of his latest visual contemplations. Coming fresh from an exhibit last year in which he explored connecting his impressionist figurative works with diptych lines. Since then, Zulueta has been fascinated and drawn to lines. 

Lines, being the very foundation of all artworks, became the very idea that he wanted to bring into the foreground as it is the corner stone of every image. In a way, as Zulueta goes back to the basics, removing all pretentions and reverting to the raw skeleton of every artwork, it is evident that he is also unleashing the most primal elements of his emotions in color and strokes to contrast the disciplined and imposing connotation of the line.

The geometric structures become the very subject of his collection as central in composition, he pays  homage the ever dependent and often under appreciated line. 
There are no pretentions to his work, it does not claim any narrative or message, it has no hidden meanings  or manipulations, no agendas or accusations. It simply revels in the very being of aesthetics, and in the words of Frank Stella, ‘What you see is what you see.’

Landscape in Blue, 34x50in.,mixed media, 2014
 Red Evening, 18x18in., acrylic on canvas, 2014
After The Rain, 2x3ft., acrylic on canvas, 2014
Chasing Lines, triptych, 30x102in., mixed media, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Works by Pinggot Zulueta in collaboration with Virgilio S.Almario, National Artist for Literature at the Crucible Gallery, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City. November 5-17, 2013

About the Exhibition

By Patrick D. Flores

                Poet and photographer come together to reflect on images. These are scenes of everyday life in the dense city taken by Jose Zulueta, speaking of conditions that are testimonies as much to sordidness as to survival. They are portraits of how people have been refused and how they have prevailed. This situation is a demolition of houses and thus evokes homelessness and eviction, the struggle to live with dignity and the authority of the state to carry out a policy on housing and urban development. 

                The photographer keenly registers their presence and discerns a part of their sentiment. This is the first moment of the gesture: the rendering of the stark urban world in black and white. As if the latter were so benighted and so explicit, he chooses to mediate the imagination. The second moment of the impulse is to offer an overlay of artistic disposition: graphic details of geometric motifs in acrylic paint that invariably frame, disrupt, adorn, embroider the photography. (What is the urge of this intervention, we might ask. Is this a sign of optimism? Or just index of experiment?) The photographic image, however, has undergone levels of mediation itself: it is printed through ink jet and then painstakingly transferred on canvas with the aid of emulsion. The tedious toil that goes with it is the photographer’s commitment to an artistic process.

                Finally, the third moment comes with words. The poet Virgilio S. Almario, the National Artist who is also known as Rio Alma, writes around the edges of the photographs telling verses from his copious corpus; these converse with the images that try to elicit sympathy and engagement. They look like marginalia but are actually central to sensing the ties between the languages of light and thought, reality and realization, the handwriting of a poet and the vision of the photographer, both grasping with patience the woes of the world.

Photography and poetry 

By Jasmine T. Cruz
November 12, 2013

AN EMACIATED child with pleading eyes looks at the camera. The child’s gloomy world is captured through a black and white photo that was transferred on canvas. As though hoping to inject color into this somber world, the artist used acrylic paint to superimpose colorful geometric lines and shapes on the image. Then on the edges of the canvas are written words that say, “Ang pangarap ng ulan, maglaro sa putikan, bago kunin ng araw (The dream of the rain is to play in the mud before it is taken by the sun).”

Photojournalist Pinggot Zulueta’s work features poetry by National Artist Virgilio Almario.
This is a piece by photojournalist Pinggot Zulueta done in collaboration with National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario for the exhibit Makatulog Ka Pa Kaya? at the Crucible Gallery. Curated by Renato Habulan, the exhibit employs photos from a demolition in Taguig, Metro Manila.

In a phone interview with BusinessWorld on Nov. 12, Mr. Zulueta recalled what it was like when he took the photos in 2008. It happened just two days after he arrived from living in Australia, and he was shocked by the poverty that he witnessed. “Galing ka sa magandang bansa tapos ’yun ’yung unang bumulaga sa akin (I came from a beautiful country then that’s the first thing that I saw),” he said.

From these photos, he submitted one entitled Taguig demolition Philippines to the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies photo competition in Rotterdam, Netherlands and won a special award. This photo is now included in the exhibit as a reworked piece entitled Diyos Na Ang Bahala.

On the choice to include Mr. Almario’s poetry in his work, Mr. Zulueta said, “Ayoko kasi na tignan yung mga litrato ng isang saglit lang (I don’t want people to look at the photographs in just one moment),” explaining that he wants the viewer to spend time looking at the photo and to think about it.

Mr. Zulueta had previously worked with Mr. Almario -- the National Artist was his editor back when he was making editorial cartoons in the 1980s and ’90s. “Sanay na siya sa mga tema ko kaya madali niyang natutulaan (He was already used to the themes that I do so it was easy to make the poetry),” he said.

The geometric lines and shapes on the photos are an expression of Mr. Zulueta’s sympathy for his subjects’ plight. “Pilit kong binubura ang kanilang kahirapan at pinapalitan ng isang imaginary at makulay na buhay (I am trying to erase their poverty and replace it with an imaginary colorful world),” he said.

The exhibit will run until Nov. 17. with cocktail reception on Nov. 13 at 6p.m. The Crucible Gallery is located at the 4th Level, SM Megamall, EDSA corner Julia Vargas Ave., Mandaluyong City.