Punctuations in Time

Tin-aw Art Gallery
May 27, 2015 9:48AM

Kirby Roxas describes to formatting his works “inconsistently”, believing that heterogeneity of style reflects a practice of image-making that constantly challenges itself. There would be instances where he incorporates ephemeral material, reversing a common subject to function as a medium instead. Such a case was when he used flowers in Flora Palabra, coincidentally relating to immediate environment of Sining Makiling in University of the Philippines Los Baños. In series that pertain to his play with the evident convention of a painting, Roxas incorporates modest technologies that subtly alters the “looking” that we are predisposed to towards the confines of the two-dimensional image. Transciendentia, the artist’s last exhibition in Tin-aw Art Gallery, for example, bore images purposely solarized and set against more realistically rendered fore elements – making use of x-ray related aesthetics.

This time around, Rattling of Shutters also utilizes technology often associated with 3D displays. Hologram-like in effect, Roxas’s new works requires us that we move from one end of what we perceive to be a two-dimensional surface to the next. The images are animated by our own movement, as they are wrought in anamorphic device. This series contains three layers of images that are interlaced in lenticular method, viewed from different angles forming a stereoscopic 3D perception. Conceived with vertical slats akin to shutters, these images of each work are sliced and arranged to form an animated narrative, unrestrained by the boundaries of a four-sided plane. 

If there is an overarching idea that governs Roxas’s imagery, it would be the logic of destiny. As he portrays this sequence of events as something preordained in previous series, Rattling of Shutters perhaps allude to destiny-in-flux as in the paintings here that open and close images. The subjects of his works remain foremost visually, speaking about the artist’s identification with providence manifested as a person, an event, some variable that propels or shifts one’s actions. However, surrounding these allegories is the background of the sky, perhaps anchoring this passage with the notion of consistency of time and space. Yet this also locate the bigger metaphor of a multiverse – that singularities in what we deem in life are not always as such. 

Roxas is straightforward in the semiotics of his works, the signals of which are deliberate references. ” It has always been his particular strategy after all to incorporate texts in his works. For the meantime in this series he spells them out through physical gestures of the hand and facial demonstration.  As with the sign language pieces, they unravel to form the words spelling out landscapes and juxtaposed with rhetoric. Examples are the rural for “babalikan” (to go back to), by the sea “kakalimutan” (to forget) to urbanscape “iiwanan” (to leave behind). Likewise, the titling of his paintings clearly defines the anamorphic actions that confront our navigation through the slats of each work. These define how destiny unfolds as a navigation – “Departure” implicating the fulfilment of dreams and the migration involved in searching for the former while “Arrival” implicates a journey coming to a close.

Rattling of Shutters as an exhibition title comes from quote from Robert Frost’s poem “The Witch of Coos”. The verse of which it takes from connotes the echo of deed surfacing now and then, often perplexed by its own incident of recalling itself. While the exhibition is not exactly murder trying to get out, as how most close-reading texts analyzes the poem, it alludes to similar punctuations: that destiny, in Roxas’s sense, is that which accompanies and resonates through the multiple possibilities of change in our existence.

Siddharta Perez

Tin-aw Art Gallery