Painter Kelly Ramos’ desire for herself is simple—to keep on exhibiting at galleries and museums and…
Out on Katipunan Avenue in White Plains, Quezon City, is an almost hidden oasis of art called Artepintura Gallery that has been in existence for some time. It’s inside building no. 94.
Painter Addie Cukingnan, one of the founders, recalled how the Arte Pintura Group of painters came to be with an initial membership of nine. Formed by Leopoldo Pazcoguin, who was at that time Cukingnan’s framer and friend, he told her that even if she thought of herself as a painting hobbyist, she should exhibit her works.
(Note to avoid confusion: Arte Pintura is the art group while Artepintura is the platform/venue for exhibits.)
He asked her if she was interested in forming a group with his other artist friends so they could exhibit their works in different venues. That was how the art group was formed. Their first exhibit was held at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel, followed by the old Ayala Museum, the NCCA Galleries, Gallery 101 and so on.
She said, “We decided to put up a gallery in 2001. It was getting difficult to reserve with established galleries because most had in-house artists and their own roster of established artists. Groups like us were not welcome to use their gallery space for their exhibits. Although we were able to sell our works by exhibiting in venues here and there, we still had to have a home we could call our own and a gallery to represent us. In our past exhibits, we usually encountered buyers who would ask which gallery was representing us and who they could contact when they wanted to commission a work from one of our artist members. Putting up a gallery was the most professional thing to do.”
Known for her floral works, Cukingnan said a lot of artists have exhibited with their gallery “and a lot have come and gone.”
Notable exhibitors at Artepintura and who are actively exhibiting their works in various galleries are: Azor Pazcoguin, sought after by collectors and who had sold-out shows in venues like Manilart, SM Art Center, Art Verite, Provenance Gallery, Art Canvas, etc.; Rey Aurelio, whose solo exhibits have all sold out at the Art Fair and who is now handled by Paseo Gallery; Flor Baradi, who has participated yearly in Manilart, exhibited her works in different galleries in Metro Manila and been invited to exhibit abroad; watercolorist Marge Lim, a three-time winner and Hall of Famer in the “Kulay sa Tubig” watercolor competition; Cukingnan herself who has had 17 solo exhibits and joined group shows here and abroad and is with the executive council of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts National Committee on Art Galleries.
Ongoing until Feb. 10 at the Quezon City gallery is the group show “Channeling the Masters,” featuring artists from the Arte Pintura Group and from the Tanay Artists Group headed by Jun Tiongco.
Cukingnan said it started as “a fun on-the-spot session. ‘Channeling the Masters’ was the idea of Flor Baradi, Artepintura Group president, who wanted to show the skills of these artists in another light.”
The Tanay Group of artists includes Tiongco, Joel Cristobal, Jun Morondoz, William Alcantara, Mon Vivas, Charlie Tim and Mario Lanario.
From Arte Pintura’s end are Shirley Tan, Cukingnan, Baradi, Rey Ademis and Antonio Yusi. Mario Miclat’s photographs are also included. Among the Masters who were “channeled” are Monet, Picasso, Mondrian, even National Artist Fernando Amorsolo.
Writer Alma Cruz Miclat served as artists’ model. She described her experience: “It was an enjoyable overnight stay at Addie’s resthouse in her beautiful Tanay property where she asked me to pose in Filipiniana dress. My husband Mario had a great time taking pictures. By lunchtime we were rewarded with a feast complete with lechon, a native black pig.”
Asked why she portrayed Ms. Miclat in the manner of symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, Baradi answered, “I chose to use Klimt for my inspiration because he has been my favorite painter ever since I was a student. His colors and patterns echo the colors of life, the highs and lows and how certain events and persons affect us, a patchwork of experiences. I also co-designed a jewelry collection inspired by his paintings.”
As for their plans for the Year of the Pig, Cukingnan announced that Artepintura would have at least 10 exhibits for 2019. It will participate in Manilart 2019 and Art in the Park. Arte Pintura Group will mount a retrospective at the NCCA Gallery and a solo show of the works of Azor Pazcoguin at Ayala Museum. The gallery will feature abstract art for the month of March and celebrate the surrealist movement in April. For June, sketches and drawings are the focus for “Sketchpod 5,” already an annual event of the gallery.
She said the gallery is known for “exhibiting contemporary art, but we make exceptions now and then. We’re also open to students, young fine arts graduates and schools who need a venue for their exhibits, depending on the availability of the space.”