Scribe at Secret Fresh

Artist Joy Mallari revisits a character from a recent painting, renders and transposes it to an ensemble of life-like sculpture of varied finishes. On view at the Secret Fresh Gallery at the Ronac Art Center in San Juan will be several versions of this figure from Mallari’s work, a girl astride a horse and wielding a sword. Sharing the inquisitive expression of her first story book character Tin of Doll Eyes, this army of sword wielding figures are far from ferocious. They appear self-assured and knowing despite their youth. Mallari depicts girls at the cusp of adulthood, treading a perilous transition. The characters of Mallari’s art however, face the world with quiet resolve and courage.

The painting where we initially encounter this figure depicts a surreal scene of destruction. The girl is a picture of calm amidst chaos, astride a crystalline horse above a dais. It is no ordinary platform however, on which the horse and its rider rest. It is a giant book bound by chains. While all else around them relentlessly unravels, the girl who can be likened to a modern-day Joan of Arc remains collected, the still center amidst disorder. The pieces which will be on display for the exhibition at Secret Fresh are culled from this pictorial image. They are rendered three-dimensionally with the steed markedly transformed into a Trojan horse, allowing a heightened encounter with the figure’s other facets and form around which narrative revolves.

Joy Mallari A Sword of a Thousand Truths 2013
A Sword of a Thousand Truths, 2013
Image courtesy Joy Mallari and Tin-aw Art Gallery

Devoid of the landscape that anchored her to a scene, we are drawn closely to what this image represents. Rendering her sculpturally brings to attention the inner lineaments of character artist Joy Mallari constructs. We discern these against a backdrop of visual elements and through the figure’s relationship to the elements of scene, ground and figure becoming foil to each other in pictorial representation. In its sculptural interpretation, we are enjoined to weave any plausible scene to which this image might belong as well as apprehend multi-dimensionally aspects of character figuration can conjure. This transition from pictorial to sculptural also places in relief the dynamic power of narrative woven both by artist and viewer by way of experience and form.

Scribe will be on view until 13th  December 2013 with an artist’s reception on 2nd December at 6PM. Inquiries through 5709815, Secret Fresh Ronac Art Center Greenhills, San Juan Metro Manila.

About the artist

Joy Mallari has shown her art widely in local and international venues. Her recent solo exhibitions include Doll Eyes in 2010 at the UP Vargas Museum and two others in 2008: Rekwerdo at Sitio Remedios in Ilocos Norte and Perennial at Art Verite in Taguig City. She explores the link between literature and art, telling stories through vivid and emphatic images in her paintings. Doll Eyes written by author Eline Santos was inspired by her painting won a National Children’s Book Award in 2011. She was a member of Salingpusa and the Sanggawa Art Collective.


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