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Friday, September 4, 2009

"Boso" by Raul Lebajo (Sept 5-30, 2009)

Galleria Duemila presents Raul Lebajo’s most recent drawings and paintings in acrylic in an exhibit entitled “Boso.” The show predominantly takes off where his previous shows “Kara” (2003) and “Tagapagmasid” (1998) conclude. In his exacting pen and ink drawings, the reclusive artist whom the art world once knew as Mr. Boogie Man fully breaks away from the flat dimensionality of his works from the 70’s to the early 90’s. Yet there is continuity in the works of Lebajo even as he explores and eventually pushes different boundaries of his environmentalist disposition.

For the most part, as the title of the show suggests, “Boso” features the surreal all seeing eye, singular on in a pair, which playfully appears not only on Lebajo’s haunting faces but also on other subjects: from appear first on top then on the sides his headlike forms, to even his ever recurring cups and tree stumps. Even his bird heads all of which possess human eyes, recalling 1998’s “Tagapagmasid” are as frequent as bird wings sprouting from were the human ears should be.

Other themes, the face and other dreamscapes of his imagination, seen from various views, assume cubistic angles, fractured and haunting as they are: A nose magnified to a large scale here, an exaggerated protrusion of a body part there. Trees and shrubs wriggle out of heads, then on top of various intimate parts of the human body. “There are always possibilities” Lebajo explains. “Each drawing or painting that I do always suggests the next.” Some works are even taken from the depths of his personal experiences. For example, the passing away of his mother, who was an ever present moving force in his life, is hauntingly symbolized in a couple of perpetually continuing drawings. His works are not just products of the imagination but of his conscious effort to depict those significant events in life in a manner uniquely his own.

While Lebajo’s drawings such as these show a new organic evolution, his paintings still show the familiar imprints of his earlier works. His ambiguous biomorphic forms in plunging depths of the painting “Journey” and the floating fruits in “Green Day” recalls his phase in the mod 1990’s. Against a dark blue field, geometric grids that go back as early as his works in the mid 1970s now serve as backdrops to his paintings “Red Field” and a “Cup of Cloud”. Ever experimenting with color, his new paintings stand out as darker and more brooding while still recalling elements from his earlier works.

One must remain child like and curious when viewing his works. What may be merely playful to one viewer may also be erotic to another. He stretches the mind’s imagination allowing the viewers to come to their own conclusions.

Raul Lebajo graduated from the Philippine Women’s University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1969. Since then he has been a prominent figure in the Philippine art scene. He was awarded a joint grant from the Illinois Art Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1998 he was chosen to represent the country in the Art in the World 98 Exhibition held in Paris, France, sponsored by Beaux Arts, the leading fine art magazine and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Boso" opens on September 5, 2009 at 4pm and will run until September 30, 2009.

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Galleria Duemila is open Mondays to Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm. For more information, please contact the gallery through Tel. No. (632) 831-9990 or Telefax (632) 833-9815, email: duemila@mydestiny.net or visit our website at www.galleriaduemila.com. The gallery is located at 210 Loring Street, Pasay City.

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