“In every phase of our imaginative, aesthetic, and emotional lives we are profoundly dependent on this larger context of the surrounding world”.
― Thomas Berry
When in the presence of nature, something within us is stirred. As we listen deeply to the voice of the natural world, we oftentimes find ourselves enraptured by its revelations drawing us to contemplate its nature and our relation to it. Whether we are in awe of its profound beauty ― in the grandeur of the tree, the stillness of the rocks, the vastness of the fields, the tranquility of the mountains, to the gush of the falls and the rhythm of the waves, the gentle touch of the wind and the pouring rain, the descent of a bird, the patterns of a honeycomb, the scent of a flower, or the gentle comfort as we walk barefoot on the grass,―or in terror of its immense power―in the roaring thunder, or the swirling storms, the massive shaking of the ground, or the spewing flame of a volcano,―there is in us that intrinsic knowing that apart from the human race, we are constantly in the presence of life forms and non-life elements of the natural world from which we are not separate. In fact, we are in the presence of it from which our own existence is sustained.
“The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human”.
― Thomas Berry
With the consciousness of the universe as ‘a communion of subjects rather than a collection of objects,’ from the wisdom of Thomas Berry, the exhibition engages the artist to dialogue with the natural world ― particularly with a ‘subject’ of nature for which he/she has a distinct affinity to or a special personal relationship with. It is an invitation to bring forth in poetic visual language of the subtle intimations of a conversation between the artist and the ‘subject.’
Experience is personal and relationship is intimate. Recollecting the experience of communing with nature, the artists re-create a space of engagement between the human and the natural world represented by their creative responses. As a collective the exhibition echoes the continuing profound presencing of nature to human and the human to nature.
“We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other.”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“Day One” suggests a moment in time, of a beginning, a newness, that projects or anticipates a continuance – a progression, of possibilities, of movement. Yet it can also imply every moment as a beginning – everyday as ‘day one’ – taken in the context that every moment affects the moment that comes after, initiating something that prompts a reaction. We need not look far. All of nature reveals this to us. For where we are now and how we are today is all because of the ‘flaring forth’ on ‘day one.’
“Nature is a realm of intricate structures and processes, as artists, our intervention stems from our consciousness of connecting to the larger realm of living beings…,” says Sam Feleo. Each terrarium is ‘a reminder of our forgotten selves, and of beings that sustain us.’ Fascinated with bio mineralization, teeth, bones, shells, and crystals, she responds with ‘Crystal Burst, Sonic Bloom,’ in a process of de-construction and re-construction of images. Curiously studying images, she cuts parts into pieces and meticulously re-assemble/re-configures them to create a collage of a new expression of the same thing, in what she calls a ‘sonorous type of energy, as a burst of life.
Yas Doctor observes, reflects, creates. She states, “‘Reclamation’ is a word often associated with manmade projects supposedly made for the benefit of the people.” In her work, “reclamation is taken from the point of nature— from as big as sinkholes to the tiny sprouts of foliage appearing between concrete cracks.” Her keen observation of the seemingly ordinary things and their processes of action-reaction reveal the same pattern in the bigger scheme of life and process of nature, teaching us in metaphors many layers of the reality of life.
In ‘I am smaller than what is happening to me’ ND Harn visualizes her “fear of the inescapable and uncontrollable nature of a natural disaster, a pandemic, and the complicated relationships in my home life.” Recognizing the powers of nature, the complexity and vulnerability of life, and the often-irresponsible attitude of humans, she responds with this series that depicts her house gradually getting submerged in black, trapping her inside. According to her, it represents not only the fear of living in a flood prone area during a pandemic, but also the hopelessness of not being able to fix or leave behind a broken relationship.
Meanwhile, Anton Villaruel takes on a creative relational project. As an active response to the worsening climate crisis, in his HALA MÆN, he initiates a ‘one art installation is to one tree planting rule’ to engage others for a more pro-active response to the issue. From his place as an artist, he does not stop at creating an output to be experienced, but one that invites the viewer ‘to foster a tree by volunteering their efforts and space’ for the propagation of ‘life.’
Finally, Diwa Abueva brings us ‘home’ – to our domestic environment. Speaking of her cat, and perhaps of any pet that man has a close relation to, she says, “A long process of evolution has made it possible for our species and theirs to come and live together. I find myself amazed and happy about this and think of it as a continuing personal relationship with the cosmos. What my cat thinks, on the other hand, is still a mystery.” And perhaps will remain a mystery within the limits of the intellect. But in our hearts, we know to be true what nature speaks – in the glimpses of intimations of their presence when we choose to be present and attentive.
― Ambie Abano