A review of the 15th Solo Exhibition of Ms. Camille Jean Verdelaire D. de la Rosa, entitled Moods and Moments at the Renaissance Gallery, The Art Walk, 4/F Bldg. A, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City. Opened on August 22, the show will run up to the 31st of this month.
MANDALUYONG CITY—The last time I had a look at Camille de la Rosa’s works was five years ago. And it was all gardens, landscapes. Nothing was moving but the clouds, the flowers being blowing by the soft summer wind or the dancing shadows of the trees that were captured so vividly that you seemed to be looking at photographs instead of paintings.
In her 15th solo exhibition in the Renaissance Gallery in SM Megamall, which opened last Aug. 22, De la Rosa, 25, has gone one step further. She has now proved to the world that she is a well-rounded artist, mastering not only the command of the brush but the craft of capturing every subject that she desires to paint.
An evolution, not only a departure
It is futile, I might say, to compare the young De la Rosa to her father Ibarra, though the reference might be helpful.
At first, one may say that it is the blood that runs through the veins of this beautiful, young artist, who used to grace our television screens with her wacky yet adorable skit roles in the afternoon comedy show Ang TV during the 1990s, that made her a superb artist.
But this author believes that it was exposure to different forms and styles of painting of the Great Impressionist Masters such as Monet, as well as the local greats, which influenced her and developed her as master of her craft as a painter, particularly an impressionist one.
Gazing at the 22 pieces of works hanging on the walls of the 30 x 30 meter-gallery on that mall in Mandaluyong, the city where she also spent her childhood (she lives in one of the oldest streets in Mandaluyong City, J.P. Rizal), was a great surprise.
She has evolved by leaps as a painter. Now she is not only a painter of sceneries but a painter of human figures, especially of young children at play by the sea, gathering colorful pebbles, sand, shells, starfishes and even dreams that the sea brings to the shore, which is considered as the earthly universe.
“As an artist, it is not only gardens, sceneries that I must know [how to] paint but even human figures. Because painting human figures can give me a greater area to explore,” she explained in Filipino, when asked why she shifted from painting gardens to humans.
An extension of her childhood, completing her wholeness
According to the artist herself, the children in the canvases are actually extensions of her childhood… For she never really enjoyed being a child (“Hindi ako masyadong nakapaglaro” [I didn’t play that much when I was a child], she says. And whenever she finds the time to look at children at play, she would gather every moment in her hands and enjoy every drop of it, like the water in the beaches she had visited during her painting stints—Boracay, Lucena, Batanes, Batangas, Marinduque, and even unknown beaches in the country.
Her love of the beach and the sea, explains why she used the sea, the elements thereof and the different moods that each waves can create as a background for her works.
But let this author clarify that it is not only children who are in the center stage but the not-so-young, too—an old woman picking up shells or shellfishes being washed to the shore by the waves, the fisherman docking at the bay, and fathers and mothers cuddling, carrying their children at the sea.
Symbols of unfathomable human emotions
You can see on the paintings the preciseness of the painter in capturing the mood of its subjects, like we have said before, fresh and raw – be it negative (jealousy, alienation) or positive (joyfulness, lovingness).
But what are more interesting in Camille’s works are the symbolisms that you can draw from the figures pictured in each work.
Is it the children’s dreams that you can picture in the work entitled “Sail On,” or is it just like that—three children who are amazed by a sailboat floating from afar?
The simplicity of life or the hardness of it, you can picture in the “Old Woman and the Sea?”
In Wish-Swapping, what does the red balloon that the naked child is holding signify? Or what does the exchange of glances mean? Is it just the boy’s jealousy for the girl who the father is carrying on his shoulders or could it mean something else?
For this author, it seems that the child, holding the red balloon is asking the father about the mysteries of life and the look that registered on the man’s face is a sign of amazement.
The author can’t help but remember, upon seeing that painting the amazement of the rabbis and the elders of the Temple of Jerusalem over the child Jesus who was only 12 years old when he engaged them in a debate over the Scriptures.
In the Reed Thin Bathers, is it just the sea the two young lovers (as the author assumes they are) are staring at? Or are they wondering what will happen to them in the near future when they decide to tie the knot?
The baby looking at another baby who happens to be asleep (Curious Gaze) seems to be expressing the amusement of seeing oneself in a mirror, only that their looks aren’t exactly the same.
Learning to be human by reflecting on the acts of another human
As you look at each picture that Camille has painted and carefully detailed, you can see that you are reflecting on your own emotions and that you are actually drawn into the realization that being human is not only having a human face, a human body, a human mind but a human heart—just what like happened to this author.
Each time that I reflect on the colors and hues, the lightness and darkness of each character of Camille’s works, which are hanging on the wall, counter-staring at me, I am learning…and little by little, I am beginning to understand that humanness depends of understanding the “I” or the self and that, to be able to learn about the self is to learn it from examining others but without duplicating or attempting to be another person or self.
Am I the “Outcast?” or I am not?
Am I “Preparing to Sail” to the farthest and the deepest part of the sea—which in psychology refers to the depths of the human mind, particularly the unconscious that is much discussed in the works of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung—which is the consummation of the wholeness of my being as a human and a part of the ever-changing society that the tides in Camille’s seas in canvass want to depict? Or am I not?
It is appreciation of the genius of Camille de la Rosa that I have drawn from the above observations
The development of Camille is triggered, the author presupposes, both by external and internal factors: (1) the painter’s innate desire to be a master of her craft; (2) her exposure to the works of the masters, especially during her tours in Paris and in Malaysia, perhaps; and (3) she had been blessed with such an enormous talent and that talent continues to develop as she experiments in color, hues and texture.
And all of these have been proven true by her latest exhibit.
On the other hand, we are expecting more of Camille in the coming days. Watch out as the master-in-the-making sails her boat to the seas of the surreal. (Bulatlat)