THINKING out of the box is ideal for many, but for the artists of Boxed, exploring the world within their own boxes is a better way of expressing their creative visions.

Conceptualized by CFAD instructors Jaime Pacena II and Buen Calubayan with Advertising alumnus Cos Zicarelli, Boxed features the works of 63 artists (34 of whom are Thomasians) from different disciplines, on display at the Big Sky Mind from May 3 to June 3. The pieces, due to the limited size of the exhibit area, are restricted to 10x10x10 inches, which the artist may interpret by their own.

“Each of us has his own space, but those spaces contain different things,” Pacena told the Varsitarian. “That’s where the concept came from. Those spaces are “boxes” which contain what we want to express.”

Big Sky Mind is a small bar near E. Rodriguez St. in Quezon City which offers an alternative art space for artists who prefer not to exhibit their works in commercial galleries.

“We have nothing against commercial galleries, but there are a few of them that will believe in our concept at first, but if they can’t sell it, it’s of no use to them,” said Pacena.

According to Pacena, Boxed is an assortment of different styles, ideologies, principles, mediums, and themes as the exhibit not only unites artists from the University, but also from other art schools.

“We told our artist friends to join the exhibit, who in turn also asked their other friends,” Pacena explained. “We didn’t even screen their works, if they wanted to join, they just had to pass a 10x10x10-inch artwork,” he added.

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Pacena’s own “Careless Whisper,” is sensual—the stark contrast of his model’s skin against the black background, with a piece of red cloth coming out of the box of her throat, as if trying to reach someone. The artist used his trademark digital art distortion on canvas—a process that first employs digital photo manipulation, then applies different chemicals on the printed canvas to achieve desired effects.

Zicarelli, on the other hand, showed his “distaste for pasta” in his works “Mazzini” and “Mussolini.” The former is a glass box with week-old spaghetti inside, the artist intending to make it resemble a museum display, which slowly deteriorates before its viewer’s eyes.

Meanwhile, “Mussolini” was created by accident. While hanging the original piece, a Plexiglas box with fermented pasta inside, it was inadvertently ruined before the exhibit. Zicarelli thought of discarding the whole thing, but as he wrapped packaging tape around the plastic bag, he saw it became more appealing. He performed at the opening night of the exhibit by eating spaghetti while gagged with electrical tape, perhaps further implying his disgust for pasta, which is ironic of him as he is of Italian descent.

The “Pañolito Series” are Yokohama Trienniale exhibitor Alma Quinto’s lot in the exhibit. Using her artistry and sewing skill, she came up with “May Asim Ka Pa,” a textile and yarn handkerchief mounted on the wall, and “Dalaga Ka na pala,” tattered panties sewn together on a hot pink background.

Quinto’s pieces border the on innocence and sensuality. She is known for tackling issues often deemed vulgar by conservative society. She has exhibited in the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences in 2004, titled Soft Dreams and Bed Stories, an exhibit where she told the stories of sexually abused women and children.

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Poets Angelo Suarez and Eva Gubat also dabbled in the visual arts. Suarez, who read one of his pieces during the opening night, displayed a Dada (an art movement that ridicules artistic principles) piece, enigmatically titled “Magritte and Ernst Collaborating on Breakfast.” His artwork is made of paper tubes wrapped in black electrical tape and mounted on a plastic square, and how these two “magic realists” became associated with his work might only be interpreted by his metaphors. Atenean Gubat’s “Training,” on the other hand, is a photograph of a naked woman with poetry written on her skin and tacked to the wall where a chalk outline is drawn, perhaps to illustrate her “box.”

Cubicle Art Gallery owner Ronald Caringal showed his non-involvement in “Participation,” a pop art-like painting with the words “I am not part of this show” in white bold letters set against a pink background.

Young Thomasian Artist Circle member Ivan Roxas, known for his vivid, realistic nudes, displays “My Old Palette,” layers of paint that had caked dry.

The organizers said Boxed does not aim to put one work against another. The show instead is a way for artists to learn and understand each other’s state of mind through the impulsiveness of their art. Judging from their artworks, their boxes, indeed, do contain very interesting ideas. F. C. Garcia


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