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Prints charming

By SCOTT GARCEAU, The Philippine STAR Published Jan 31, 2021 4:00 pm

As we take tentative steps toward rejoining the world after 2020, a couple of things people are starting to re-experience are hotels and art.

Just in time, Conrad Manila continues its accessible focus on local artistry with this year’s “Of Art Wine” exhibit, called “Thrive,” now displayed along its Gallery C corridor. Thirty-four works by local printmakers are shown (all are for sale) in an art stroll that highlights this sometimes misunderstood art discipline.

“There’s a misconception that (printmaking) is ‘just a print’ of an original, and somehow less valuable on the market,” explains Ambie Abaño, curator of the event and noted artist herself.

But as we saw in a demonstration by Yas Doctor (who did a relief print of a rubbercut work), each print is a unique impression of an original, involving the tactile touch of an artist spreading ink, applying pressure and carefully lifting, resulting in a completely handmade original. “Some people think they’re just copies,” adds Abaño, “but we think of it as ‘multiple originals.’”

 “Of Art and Wine: Thrive” is on display at Gallery C, Conrad Manila, until Feb. 19.

Prints made from 24 artists, including Ronald Ventura, Abaño and others, showcase the hotel’s continued commitment to the printmaking medium, through a relationship with the Association of Pinoyprintmakers (formerly Philippine Association of Printmakers) formed back in 1968 to promote local printmaking through exhibits, demos and workshops.

 Panelists Nestor Jardin and artist/organizer Ambie Abaño discuss the launch.

The 34 prints for this exhibit fit with 2021’s “Thrive” theme, addressing the artistic (and human) desire to persevere and prosper, even while braving a pandemic.

The works gathered from the Association of Pinoyprintmakers studio for the exhibit go as far back as 1991 (etchings of orchids and jackfruit by Ibarra Dela Rosa), up to a 2020 monotype by Hershey Malinis (“Intensity”).

Pieces are for sale at prices ranging from P4,000 up to the roof, including a couple of Ronald Ventura lithographs from 1999 (“Deterioration,” Re-Silence”) that — surprise, surprise — have already been snapped up for P250,000 each.

 Conrad Manila GM Linda Pecoraro: “Thrive” is “a perfect reminder for us to remain focused on what is important to transform our future.“

This is the 14th edition of “Of Art & Wine.” Since 2014, 32 local artists have been commissioned to create over 200 site-specific artworks for the hotel’s guest rooms, public areas and public viewing areas, notes former CCP president Nestor Jardin, who attended the launch.

Past exhibits have included works by Arturo Luz, BenCab and others (plus, we imagine, lots of wine on hand as well as art).

 Artist Yas Doctor does a demo of printmaking from a rubbercut.

The series “speaks to the continuing passion and persistence that’s still alive in us during these challenging times,” says Abaño. “‘Thrive’ is about doing this together, surviving together. It’s encouraging. The hope is in the imagery.”

 Angelo Magno, “I Can Read Your Mind” (Rubbercut, 2012)

The exhibit “resonates perfectly with our commitment to stay strong and resolute for the institution, the industry, and the country,” says hotel GM Linda Percoraro. “It’s a perfect reminder for us to remain focused on what is important to transform our future.“

    Jess Flores, “Vendor and Child” (Monotype, 2016)