DESPITE the challenges of painting and digital art, printmaking continues to be in a state of creative ferment, as shown in Papers and Layers, the exhibit of the Association of Pinoyprintmakers (A/P) running until Sept. 25 at the Bulwagang Carlos Francisco, Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The exhibit focused on printmaking techniques such as serigraph, silkscreen print, monoprint, woodblock and intaglio.

Benjie Torrado-Cabrera, alumnus of the old UST College of Architecture and Fine Arts and president of A/P, said paper as a medium posed several challenges that tested the flexibility of artists.

“Part of growing as an artist is adapting to your material and following wherever it takes you,” Cabrera told the Varsitarian.

His work, “Portal To My Teacher’s Mansion,” is a relief engraving of biomorphic formations in intersecting lines and geometrical figures on a structured, pyramid-like folded paper.

Complementing his work is a suspended two-dimensional scroll displayed behind the structured paper with the same design.

Displayed at the center of the exhibit is Fine Arts alumnus Salvador “Buddy” Ching’s “Biyahe,” an installation of two Balikbayan boxes with digitally printed images of Filipinos in native and indigenous costumes such as baro’t saya, terno, and barong Tagalog.

Veteran Thomasian artist and former Philippine Women’s University Fine Arts dean Raul Isidro’s “Relfection I and Reflection II” are a two-framed monoprint of random blue and yellow lines on a red ink background. Monoprint is a difficult printmaking technique where images and lines can only be made once unlike most printmaking techniques where there can be multiple originals.

UST Graduate School professor Rhoda Recto injected Oriental themes in her print interpretation of the classical Chinese poem “Wang Wei’s Bamboo Grove,” a three-dimensional structure relief print where protruding bamboo-shaped surfaces of printing plates or blocks are inked.

For Recto, printmaking involves a more difficult process compared to painting or sketching because of its “tediousness” as paper is “very perishable and hard to control.”

Thomasian painter and master printmaker Fil de la Cruz’s “Dialogo ng mga Maskara” is an ink-on-paper monochrome artwork displaying scattered masks of a woman’s face concealed behind an illustration of interweaving hands and leaves.

Inspired by his recent trip to Malaysia, Janos de la Cruz, Fil’s son who finished fine arts in UST, portrayed culture shock and isolation in “Jalan-Jalan Sa Maynila Hanggang Penang.” His work is a collage of printed Oriental-themed icons such as dragons and kanji characters along with collaged layers of old comic strips and newspaper clippings.

Contemporary artist Mars Bugaoan, well-known for his monotype prints on heated plastic bags, showed different layers in making monotype cutouts on paper in “Untitled 1/1,” an etched triptych.

“The dissected layers involved in the process of printmaking portray how the artist evolved from scratch to experimenting and exploring the medium they used,” Bugaoan said.

Graphic designer Wesley Valenzuela, another Fine Arts alumnus, used acrylic and screen print for his black and white work titled “End of Man.” It is a digital print presenting dissonant images of eyes, skulls, gorillas, bat wings, fish bones, and human jaws attached together.

The Association of Pinoyprintmakers, formerly known as the Philippine Association of Printmakers, was founded in 1968 by Manuel Rodriguez Sr., generally acknowledged the Father of Philippine Printmaking.


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