“Elusive Edge: Philippine Abstract Forms”
              Carlos Quijon, Jr.
              While framed as a non-survey exhibition, “Elusive Edge: Philippine Abstract Forms” presents a compelling cross-section of geometric abstraction in the Philippines, from its postwar formation to postmedia experiments that extend its legacies. Featuring the Cubist impulses of Vicente Manansala’s 1960 still life featuring the titular mango and papaya, the linear flourishes of Fernando Zobel’s Castilla XXII (1957), Leo Valledor’s color field appropriation of the Philippine flag (1981), and more contemporary brick paintings by Maria Taniguchi (2018), the exhibition makes a worthwhile attempt to revisit this particular visual idiom and to renew the stakes for thinking about it both in and beyond its art-historical, stylistic, and disciplinary contexts. The exhibition, curated by Patrick D. Flores, accomplishes this by a broadening of categorical parameters: “abstract forms,” rather than “abstraction”—as evidenced in this show, the former is less burdened by modernist influence than in fleshing out these forms’ own tendencies. True to its title, “Elusive Edge” emphasizes how gestures of abstraction overlap with forms and disciplines beyond visual art, such as architecture and design. The dense hang of “Elusive Edge,” which features more than sixty artists and eighty works, foregrounds differences in the works’ stylistic intentions while allowing points of commonality to emerge. …
              Bruce Conner’s “Out of Body”
              Claudia Arozqueta
              Bruce Conner’s solo exhibition, “Out of Body,” takes its title from a life-changing experience the artist had when he was eleven years old. Mesmerized by a patch of sunlight on the floor of his bedroom, he was overcome by the sensation of being “an old ancient person” within his infant body, existing “in worlds of totally different dimensions.” This ineffable experience was the genesis of Conner’s lifelong fascination with the mystical idea that the self and the universe were interconnected, and that the former was a microcosm of the latter. From the 1950s until his death in 2008, he worked in virtually every available medium—painting, assemblage, moving image, drawing, performance—and his polymathic approach reflected a wide-ranging interest in syncretism. He mingled spiritual beliefs in a bid to reach higher levels of consciousness, and as a way to explore countercultural alternatives to the spiritual impoverishment that he identified, and vehemently despaired of, in mainstream, consumerist American society. “Out of Body,” Conner’s first major exhibition in Southeast Asia, comprises 20 works that, by reflecting on consumerism, nuclear disasters, and spirituality, resonate with the Philippines’ past and present. Entering the gallery, viewers first encounter the ink drawing CROSS (1963). Drawn after a sojourn in …

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