AT 2 p.m., artist Gerry Baguio sits alone in his studio surrounded by pieces of cogon paper. To kickstart his creativity, he sets his iPod on the speakers and plays the album In a Silent Way (1969) by Miles Davis. At 4 p.m., he takes a break. And at 7 p.m., he resumes working.
Listening to the jazz album led the artist to name his first exhibit for 2019 after it. Mr. Baguio said that the exhibit title, In a Silent Way, describes the creative process his works went through for a year.
Habang nagwo-work ako, ’yan ang pinapakingan ko. Tahimik yung lugar ko tapos ibon lang ang maririnig ko (While I’m working, that’s what I only listen to. The place is quiet and it is only birds that I hear),” Mr. Baguio told BusinessWorld at the exhibit opening on Jan. 19 at the Avellana Art Gallery in Pasay City.
The 18 collages in the exhibit are done on handmade paper made with cogon grass. Having had experience in the paper-making process in his hometown of Bacolod, the artist described the process: the pulp is boiled in water, rinsed five times, bleach is then added, and the paper is dyed with the desired color. Then, it is placed on a silkscreen molder and flattened on plywood.
The details on the collages are achieved with the use of magazine cutouts, ballpen drawings, and acrylic paint in bold magenta, cobalt blue, emerald green, vermillion, and hansa yellow.
The works represent the indigenous culture of Bacolod.
“When I get bored, pinabayaan ko siya muna (I leave the works for a while). Then, lilipat ako sa iba (Then I transfer my attention to other things),” Mr. Baguio said about his working process. “I just play music and when I turn to my works and visualize a figure, that’s when I work on it.”
The collage that inspired the rest of the works — and was also titled after Davis’ album — is a representation of a child’s birth until his growth, evident through the human-like figures in the piece.
As for what he wants every viewer to see, he said: “I want them to see that my works are hairsplitting and colorful.”
In a Silent Way is on view until Feb. 16 at the Avellana Art Gallery, 2680 F.B. Harrison St., Pasay City. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman