What do big names in the local and international art scene such as Filipino-Parisienne painter Nena Saguil, Japanese Avant Garde painter-sculptor-performance artist Yayoi Kusama and up-and coming Filipino artist JJ Duque, have in common? A deep obsession with the circle and a tenacious attitude to art making, which is a rare quality among today’s artists.
In ArtistSpace’ upcoming exhibition titled “Patience: An Adventure of Pens and Pencils”, viewers will find frames upon frames of biomorphic patterns in rainbow hues, created by meticulously drawn concentric circles and round forms. The patterns reveal many stories, sometimes of unassuming sand formations, and in several occasions, of molecules forming a multitude of matter, surprising viewers with macro perspective of things.
Rhythmic and highly textured, the works are inspired by the most ubiquitous objects and phenomenon experienced by the artist such as stellar formations on a night sky, city and beachscapes, and cellular life forms underwater or otherwise. The choice of subject matter also illustrates the urban lifestyle of the artist.
Two important themes that are key to understanding Duque’s works are the element of texture and principle of rhythm. Texture is present in the gradient rendering and pointillism while rhythm is evident in the repetition of shapes. All these are achieved through a “stream-of-consciousness” drawing process in which the artist works on sheets of heavy weight paper sans the underdrawing (drawing underneath the painting or sketch). Then, the process continues with a mantra like discipline of outlining and shading, which usually averages 30 hours. Such is Duque’s brand of tenacious art making.
While Duque demonstrates the same obsession and reverence for the circle and the patience to draw intricate patterns with artists Saguil and Kusama, Duque has come up with a style and process that he can call his own – one characterized by acontinuous dissecting and breaking down of daily experiences in the simplest and most basic shape – the circle.