10 July to 24 August 2014*
Pasilyo Vicente Manansala (2F Hallway Gallery)
*The exhibit will be temporarily replaced by the Cinamalaya 10th Anniversary exhibit from 29 July - 15 August. It will resume on 16 August.
Opening reception: 10 July, Thursday, 6pm
Artist talk: 19 August, Tuesday, 2pm
Let’s start with a cliché: the one about how every painting begins with a line. And follow that with another: the one about how every painting is a mass of lines, but really more of an index, controlled, in theory, by an itinerary, a discipline, a rhetoric, a vision. It is necessary to spout these clichés, to talk about painting in these almost childlike terms, because the initial impetus behind Cris Villanueva’s On Line Order was a nostalgic reflex. But not necessarily the iteration of nostalgia we’re familiar with, that is, nostalgia as history or as sentiment, but rather nostalgia as a sort of anthropology.
On Line Order began as an attempt to investigate Villanueva’s childhood, not so much his childhood per se but rather his artistic childhood, hoping to tease whatever membranes of connectivity he could to the artist he is today from the artist he was as a child. The original plan was to re-create his childhood drawings but the drawings he eventually re-created were not his, but his children’s. Yet, by dint of how they bear his influence and his imprint, they are, by implication, also his, and whatever patterns, and pattern recognition, might emerge is now filtered through a sort of recursive double-exposure, becoming an articulation of the circuitous nature of legacy. Another recursive series within the show paints and re-paints a single doodle over several works. The entire show, in fact, has a recursive quality, a sense of repetition and reproduction and re-creation, and the rigor that comes with it, playing as it does into the notion of process as a line of inquiry.
It might be a little too simplistic to say that Villanueva is coming back to painting by breaking it down to its most basic unit but, in many ways, that’s what he is ostensibly undertaking. And if On Line Order is about anything, it is about his obsession with the line and his willingness to pursue it through all its permutations; the line not only as the most basic unit of a painting but also, more so, as something loftier, as something primordial, as something metaphorical. For Villanueva, the line is something that exists as much outside as it does inside the work, both a visible and invisible element of it, equal parts consequence and intention; a versatile and protean and catalyzing conduit for the way it bridges varieties of distance and the way it demarcates shapes and limitations and divides space and time, narrowing the gulf between past and present and extending into perpetuity. (Dodo Dayao)