JANE Arietta Ebarle melds anew Philippine traditional weaving motifs and modern abstraction but with hints of feminine figuration in her new Hibla series at the Alliance Francaise Total Gallery in Makati.
The exhibit, running until March 3, features Ebarle’s “Babaeng Hibla,” a collection of four paintings of women figures formed by interweaving thread-like geometric patterns.
Twenty other abstract- expressionist works of Ebarle are also displayed.
An Advertising Arts alumna from the old College of Architecture and Fine Arts, Ebarle is known for interpreting on canvases ethnic textiles of traditional weaving communities such as the Tausugs, Manobos, Maranaos and Kalingas. She began her series in 2008.
Ebarle told the Varsitarian how she got into ethnic abstract expressionism.
“I tried a lot of genres,” she said. “I tried still life, I tried figurative paintings, I tried different techniques. But this one just came out very naturally.”
For this edition, she appropriated “Hibla” motifs and combined it with Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt’s technique of depicting the female figure through abstraction. Klimt’s famous paintings titled “The Kiss,” “Hope II” and “Two Women Friends” all represent a female body decorated with abstract patterns in gold- and pink-like hues.
“Babaeng Hibla 5,” a 36 x 48 acrylic on canvas painting, shows a woman’s bare back covered in a yellow shoal with dotted holes. She wears a blue skirt designed with moss green circles covered with light green, yellow and pink intervening lines.
“The ethnic icon of ‘Hibla’ is still there.” said Ebarle. “The paintings still symbolize our icons from our cultural side but only dipped in Gustav Klimt’s style.”
Ebarle also shows some of her old abstract paintings. Her “Isang Yardang Hibla 9” depicts lines and patterns blanketing the black background in different colors—from burnt oranges to carmine reds, cobalt blues, raw siennas, pink, aubergine, magenta, purple and yellow.
On planning the color schemes for her work, Ebarle said she used an “instinctive hand” on every painting.
“I try my best to have a plan or a sketch before I paint but everything just loses its importance once I start,” she said. “Spontaneously, I just choose the most fitting colors I see.”
Ebarle has been holding “Hibla” exhibits since 2008. She was the president of the Philippine Art Educators
Association and has given art appreciation classes to thousands of public school teachers.
She was also named as one of the “100 Women Artists” during the the National Committee on the Centennial of the Feminist Movement in the Philippines.
She had solo shows in Singapore and New York at the Asian Civilizations Museum in 2011 and the Philippine Center in New York in 2013.
Ebarle is taking up Master of Arts in Women and Development at the University of the Philippines.