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We’ve Been Trying To Find Our Way Back All Along

  • Start

    03 September 2020
  • End

    04 October 2020
  • Artists

    AJ Omandac, Kat Medina, Mica Cabildo, Tof Zapanta, Zeus Bascon

Meet Folk Superlative, a ten year-old design collective composed of Zeus Bascon, Kat Medina, Tof Zapanta, Mica Cabildo, and AJ Omandac. While the image of a reunion is in order for these five who have a shared history of collaborating in design, their individual conceptual explorations presented in this show more accurately resemble an explosion away from the core of design, but one that inevitably means having come from a place of it. Thatʼs if we were to accept design in its most curious forms, in the often convoluted and yet potent ways that we devise and contrive as new ways of seeing, understanding and shaping our worlds.

In two sets of work for the show, Bascon digitally translates older work and retools them as material for new, in a process that has less to do with reproducing or reflecting the material, and more to do with reconstituting and repurposing imagery for new stories altogether. In one painting, he revisits a 2013 piece titled “Shebang”, only this time rendering its full image as a radial catalyst for other things to implode from within. In “Gems For Extra Life”, he forages through various studio material and a discontinued commission of nude studies, breathing new life into bits and pieces ritualistically removed and reconstructed into new collage- paintings. He presents these paintings alongside their digital copies not to iterate the images per se, but to transfigure them into a form where the imagined life- giving power of its gems are more permanently entombed.

Medinaʼs installation of shell-specific objects and images maps the artistʼs own feelings of resentment towards the collective decline of manʼs material connection to shells. With it she draws a history of encounters with shells as accoutrements of forlorn design, naive to shellʼs true material history and are ultimately just markers of our distance to a time, whenever that might have been, when the abundant material meant so much more.

Zapantaʼs recent painting approach deliberately confuses the realms of essence and perception to engineer his own way of processing memory and desire. By treating the memory of the sea and certain perceptible elements within his room (texture, color) as discrete square units of visual memory that can be interchanged between parallel visual planes, he conjures a new way to visualize amidst remembering, and in effect be there without being there. That and an entertaining new way to stare at furniture.

Through monotype prints produced during a residency on the German Baltic coast (2018-2019) and screenprints produced during a residency in southern Germany (2014-2015), Cabildo reflects on how a creative process can be used to make sense of both her immediate and distant milieux. In an effort to understand the

Baltic communityʼs relationship with the sea, she studied rising sea levels and storm floods. While in Stuttgart, she reflected on the Filipino experience of disaster and typhoons. In both cases, she meditates on points where man and nature meet.

Omandac explores similar questions on the relationship of man to nature, and investigates through the lens of horticulture, manʼs ability to shape and form his natural environment. With the express intent of illustrating the limits of human intervention on plant life and posturing conservation as a mark of guilt, he begins via vegetative propagation, a process where a plant naturally reproduces an offshoot copy of itself at the point of cutting, only to impede the growth at the point of offshoot and instead simulate growth through the shaping of material — plaster, yarn and paint — to produce half-plant, half-handiwork figures that haunt with the question, “Well is this what you wanted?”

– David Loughran