WELL-KNOWN for his monotype prints on heated plastic bags, Mars Bugaoan was among contemporary visual artists featured in back-to-back exhibits in Makati City, Jan. 12 to 18.

Bugaoan’s works have always depicted unconventional themes. In the first exhibit, “Tounges,” at J Studio, Bugaoan created an installation made of tinkered plastics and “found objects” (such as a root and a barren ant’s nest). Titled “How are you? Who are you?,” the installation is composed of objects that intrigued the artist because he “could see the similarity in their intrinsic qualities.”

“I think one’s sensibility as an artist grows as one sees the worth in things,” Bugaoan said. “In a way, all the objects in this piece say something of similar worth to me: they’re all about growth.”

Most of Bugaoan’s works are based on the underlying theme of growth. In 2016, he was also part of a group exhibit in CCP where he used printmaking to show the different layers of a monotype cutout and explore how “the medium will evolve from scratch.”

This fitted well with the main theme of the first exhibit. For curator JC Jacinto, “Tongues” aimed to show the way a single idea could change or evolve if said in several different ways
by different people.

In “BW,” the other exhibit held at Vinyl on Vinyl, Bugaoan used relief printing, a print technique that uses a carved or etched surface. His work, “Who are you tonight?”, was an eight-piece rubber-cut print in black and white. Bugaoan used a printing block dipped in white ink to transfer his stark, repetitive images on eight acid-free 8×11.5 black paper sheets.“[BW] is a study on the polarities; on how one thing cannot exist without the other,” the artist said.

Bugaoan graduated cum laude with a degree in Advertising Arts at the College of Fine Arts and Design in 2009. He reaped several other academic awards as an undergraduate, including the Active Scholar of the Year Award in 2007, and Outstanding Thesis Award, and Benavides Outstanding Achievement Award in 2009. He also won the grand prize in photography of the 8th Art Petron National Student Art Competition in 2008.

Bugaoan has been featured in numerous exhibits here and abroad, including two solo exhibits and a two-man exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. He is also a member of the Philippine Association of Printmakers.