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Meanderings II

  • Start

    18 June 2020
  • End

    19 July 2020
  • Artist

    Jim Orencio

Scenes from a Flowing World:
Meanderings II by Jim Orencio

Landscape, as a painting genre, has long been regarded as one of the most viable—and vitalizing—subject matter that reveals the relationship of the artist to his environment. Through his lens of subjectivity, he is able to bring fresh insight to land that could assume many things: God’s visible silhouette, new avenues of perception, the interior state of the artist. But what if the landscape is not merely observed but attended to, experienced, lived in?

This is what the 28th solo exhibition, Meanderings, by Jim Orencio offers: an attentiveness that is rooted in the urge to map out, understand, and occasionally inhabit the “patch of paradise” he acquired in the town of Madalag in his home province, Aklan, seven years ago. This urge has been exemplified by his two previous shows, The Golden Hour and Stream, which make the current one a continuing narrative of his interaction with his landscape.

In the nine works that constitute the show, the landscape is energized by the “meanderings” of streams and waterways as they negotiate through the stones and undergrowth, carving their own paths and injecting an element of motion in an otherwise still composition. Their presence suggests that the environment is ecologically sound, self-sustaining, and virtually untouched. Captured at the different times of day—as a nod to the Impressionists whose emphasis was on light—the landscape is suggested as pure and pristine, bereft of human presence and intervention.

But for someone who has dominion to the place, Orencio knows that his depictions are shadowed by looming threats. For one, kaingin, or slash-and-burn method, is still very much being practiced by some near his area. And should it continue unabated (nature, it must be said, doesn’t respect human demarcations) there is a possibility that the streams that he has painted may dry up and disrupt the ecology of the place, irrevocably affecting the flora and fauna that draw sustenance from these water reservoirs.

Which is to say that Orencio’s works are painted with a sense of urgency. While they mirror the beauty of the landscape that has inspired them, these paintings also serve as documentary proof of the fragility of nature, and hence the need to protect it. In his works, Orencio, whose childhood is replete with memories of communing with and cultivating the earth, celebrates as he simultaneously warns and advocates. “I’m keeping a close watch because there is an urge to preserve the place,” he says.

-Carlomar Arcangel Daoana