Jaime Gubaton, the artist who made a name for himself by winning grand prizes in Petron and PLDT art competitions as a student, interprets what is arguably every body’s favorite place for his third solo exhibition.
Aptly called “Home,” the opus exhibition combines all of Gubaton’s subjects and themes—the zoomed-in faces, the stylized buildings, colorful geometric patterns, fabric patterns, and hyper realistic birds, flowers, and insects; all painted over well-constructed color fields and accented with textural elements.
These themes are presented through twelve oil and acrylic on canvas paintings, which include a 10-feet wide diptych, two other major works, and two sets of serial works with four works comprising each series.
With this exhibit, Gubaton expounds on the idea of home, relating not just to structure, and the surroundings it belongs to, but to the panoply of ideas relating to it: family, belonging, security, happiness, love, memory, intimacy, time, and, surprisingly, balance.
It is quite expected for an exhibition to showcase family and the belonging, comfort, security and intimacy one has, when one is happily with them. Though expounded on by fewer artists, the ideas of a past and of rootedness, are still commonly painted about home.
This is true for works in this exhibition where personal vignettes are included in code where Gubaton puts in portions pertaining to memories, as well as hopes for the present and the future.
Gubaton though, pushes the concept further, by focusing on balance in the home, both compositionally and conceptually, in this exhibit. And this is what separates him from the rest.
The concept of balance can be seen in his composition, which uses a grid to locate focal points in diagonal opposition, to enable the eye to rove the area, and to delight on new elements as it does.
In “You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello,” the picture plane is divided horizontally between the largely empty sky above, and the crowded houses beneath. The houses serve as a visual grid to locate several focal points, such as a face here, a cluster of flowers and birds there, and bright colors and patterns to offset them.
In his smaller works, the outline of a house is twisted, to create an abstraction, which has a dynamic appeal because of the diagonals that seem to put motion in the composition.
More importantly, and quite unique to Gubaton, is how he created the paintings as exposition of opposites: nature and man-made structure, past and the future, memories and dreams, and—if one subscribes to a symbolist reading—man represented by birds and clear cut geometry and woman, represented by flowers and flowing textile patterns.
For these reasons, as well as the high level of skill by which Gubaton has rendered each work in this exhibition, this exhibition is worth the visit.
Home will be on view at the Ayala Museum’s ArtistSpace until November 26. Located in Makati, the gallery is open from Mondays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.