“LOVE is the only reason to live,” was the resounding theme of the second exhibition of the contemporary artist group Bondman’s Key, Bondman’s Key _ First Stanza, at the UST Museum of Arts & Sciences last February 14.

The group, which was formed in 2000, is composed of three UST Advertising Arts alumni–Edrie Myrick Ocampo, Jaime Jesus Pacena, and Buen Franklyn Anthony Calubayan.

Using the alias “Jailbird,” Ocampo uses materials like old photographs and pieces of glass. One of his paintings, titled “Till Death Do Us Part,” is dominated by a red background and accented by a long-stemmed wilted rose, showing depth of emotion.

Meanwhile, ”Unrequited Till Then” focuses on a photograph of a girl whose stance indicates unawareness of the artist’s romantic sentiment. A billow of white smoke surrounds the photo.

Similar to Ocampo, Calubayan–a.k.a. Meek–also uses obscurity as a technique. His “A Found Wish” depicts the sky in a multitude of colors. From a certain distance, the painting seems to be just a dark background that centers on a barely perceptible shadow of a girl. But looking closer, one will observe a kaleidoscopic effect in the work. The colors seem to shift depending on the viewer’s perspective. It is noticeable on Calubayan’s painting strokes that he is a free-spirited artist that shies away from convention, like his “Alab Ng Puso” and “Heartaches For Two.”

In contrast to the works of Ocampo and Calubayan, the pieces by Pacena maintain a balanced distribution of colors. His paintings “Behind Closed Doors,” “I Am Not What I Used To Be,” and “The Strait Of My Dream On Poverty, Love, Vanity,” are dominated by different hues of gold. The only thing that sets one painting apart is the choice of subject. “Behind Closed Doors” features a girl and a rose, while “I Am Not What I Used To Be” shows a red square patch in the middle.

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Aside from the exhibit, the event also included acoustic performances, an interpretative dance by PETA’s Vida Nael, and poetry readings from the UST Center for Creative Writing and Studies associates Rebecca Añonuevo, Michael Coroza, Ramil Gulle, and Lourd de Veyra.

Bound by a common belief on the great power of love and its existence, Bondman’s Key shows mastery of techniques and emotional appeal. Ma. Stephanie Rose R. Hilario

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