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Treasures threaded together

STITCHING thread onto canvas was a product of arduous trial and error for visual artist Patrick Esmao.

In a bid to create landscapes and cityscapes from geometrical patterns, he discovered that incorporating metallic thread in particular added depth and light to his works. He just had to find the right kind of thread.

“I went through four materials before I found the perfect one. It’s the thread used for gowns, garments, and decorations that have a certain lustrous texture,” he told BusinessWorld.

This material can really hold a person’s attention due to the three-dimensional effect it has when hit by light, he added.

At Galerie Joaquin in Rockwell, Makati, his exhibit “Threads of Time” showcases many of these geometrical paintings, some depicting cacti and desert landscapes and others showing ancient ruins.

Inspired by audiobooks of The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich, specifically the chapters on art from ancient civilizations, Mr. Esmao sought to explore the gaps in people’s interpretation of the time.

(The Story of Art, first published in 1950, is a survey of the history of art from ancient times to the modern era.)

“My paintings show simplified, basic forms — rocks, obelisks, pillars. How do we conceive time through rectangular shapes? How do we interpret history with artefacts and structures?,” he said in a Zoom interview. Despite not having any expertise in archaeology, it was an intriguing topic for him to ponder over.

Mr. Esmao’s background in industrial drafting, not in fine arts, also pushed him to develop skills on his own.

“Most skills I have I did by trial and error, experimentation,” he said. “Artists have moments of creation without trying to present anything definite, just playing around. For this, I explored interpretations of the past.”

He also stressed the importance of focusing on art, having made art part-time for 13 years and full-time starting 2021. “I have to do it continuously day in, day out. The work is much better. It’s hard if there are other commitments,” he said.

Although Mr. Esmao’s thread and acrylic geometrical paintings in “Threads of Time” are his own dedicated translations of history, he invites viewers to question and form their own.

“Imagine the gaps between our interpretations and how things actually were in ancient times. The conflict between the original meaning and the images of today,” he explained. “What do we lose in the translation?”

“Threads of Time” will be on view at Galerie Joaquin in Rockwell, Makati, from March 1 to 11. — Brontë H. Lacsamana