Then They Rise…

A meditation on Recci Bacolor’s Resureccion
My Little Art Space, Greenhills, San Juan; March 29-April 15, 2009
Group Exhibit

Sometimes, the artist has to be reborn or awakened from his or her tight sleep in order to unleash the power of his or her art.

When this author walked into the halls of My Little Art Space in San Juan City in the evening of March 29, a huge collection of personal reflections of how an artist’s mind and soul had been “resurrected” by passion and love for the arts, painting in particular, took me by surprise.

It was the opening of the group exhibit titled Resureccion, the Spanish term for the rising from the dead.

The exhibit, which ran until April 15, is a diversified interpretation of resurrection, of coming to life based on personal or impersonal experiences.

In the Christian tradition, the Resurrection of Christ is the most important festivity in the whole liturgical calendar for it shows the triumph of Christ over death and sin. It is also the fulfillment of Christ’s promise of rebuilding the ruined Temple – which is His body –in three days.

Artist and curator John Mari Recci C. Bacolor, a.k.a. Recci, organized this major exhibition as a birthday gift to himself.

Twenty-three artists contributed the magnificent collection of paintings of different medium: mixed media, acrylic, oil, and manipulated photograph, namely Benjie Torrado Cabrera, Bunch Garcia, Carlo Claudio, Con Cabrera, Convocar, Felix Bacolor, Ingrid Almazan, James Ben, J. Pacena II, Loren Marquez, Mike Andaya, Niña Theresa Parreño, Niño Hernandez, Nityalila Saulo, Noel P. Tan, Patrick “Kinigtot” Bacolor, Recci himself, Rhea Cathrina Consorio, Shaira Luna, Tanya Escaler, Tootoots Leyesa, Xander Calceta, and Zeus Bascon.

Particularity and universality

As this author gazed at the canvases, the particularity and universality of the works of art became clearer.

While different moods, emotions, and ideas have been painted on canvas or printed on photo paper, or projected against the white wall, the idea is one: to live in hope and to relive that hope in each and every one of us, in order for us to rejuvenate and to regain our strength as humans.

Escaler’s “Resureccion” is a saga of rebirth, of love lost and rediscovered. The red backgrounds, the droplets which form the central image and the garden-like adornment at the lower portion of the painting give the audience the story of the quest of one soul of gaining the source of its life, that is, pure love.

Garcia’s “Awakened” tells the story of recovery from helplessness and darkness, and how the girl in the painting came to see the light which had given her hope, and maybe, happiness.

Recci’s “Life After Death” is but a symbol of eternity. The white rose signifies the continuity of one’s legacy or life perhaps; even it had had given its soul or life force.

Almazan’s “Nightmare” is the resurrection of one memory that has long been dead. Many can relate with this piece for there are some memories in our subconscious or unconscious minds which we perceive to be dead, but are actually still living and would eventually haunt us.

Convocar’s “Repost and Ascent” is a religious portraiture of the belief that one who has died will enter life; the corpse is buried and the soul returns to the place where it belongs—the ethereal realm.

Meanwhile, Kinigtot’s “Lazarus” seems to be waiting to be awakened by the Almighty. Lazarus is one of the followers of Jesus whose coming back to life was the proof of the Lord’s promise of the resurrection of the dead after Judgment Day.

Other works are interestingly diverse: Carlo Claudio’s “Palawan Seascape” is a picture of calmness, of peace, of tranquility. It brings the audience a sense of peace within, thus resurrects the weary soul.

“Hot Mama” by James Ben is the resurrection of the seed. To be able to bring forth a plant to life, the seed must die and have its root buried deeply under the ground. Such is also the case with the human soul.

End note

The Resureccion exhibit did show how individuals cope with personal dilemmas which equate to personal “death”.

This was suggested by some works which depict the personal struggles of the artists and how they survived these struggles.

In the final assessment, the exhibit did reach its goal, which is to share the artists’ resurrection to others so that the audience can also struggle to resurrect themselves and to live their lives to the fullest.

Interview with Mr. Recci Bacolor:

Noel Sales Barcelona (NSB): When did you start painting? Are their other artists in the family? Can we know what the educational background of Mr. Bacolor is?

John Mari Recci C. Bacolor (JMRCB): I started to paint when I was a child. I grew up watching my father draw and paint. My father works as an art designer and later on pursued interior design. I can’t remember him teaching me how to draw because he was always out of the country to work abroad. Sometimes it took two years or more before he would come back home. But my mother tells me a lot of stories about my father’s work abroad and it motivated me a lot to practice drawing and painting so that whenever my father would get back home for a vacation or break, I would have something to show him to impress him. Since then I never stopped drawing.

I am an undergraduate of Computer Engineering. I took a leave from studying the course to pursue an art-related course which is my real interest. I started by enrolling in a 3D animation course and later on studied Digital Arts. I started studying painting by myself, joining sketching sessions and art groups, but later on undergoing mentoring by Noel Pocot.

Some of my artist relatives who also inspire me a lot and are also active in the art scene are Felix Bacolor and Patrick “Kinigtot” Bacolor. Both are my father’s younger brothers. Some of my other relatives are in the interior design companies and architecture.

NSB: Is this your first major exhibit?

JMRCB: Yes. This is not my first time to participate in a group show but this is the first group show I’ve organized and curated myself.

NSB: How long did it take you to mount this exhibit? What are the processes that you have gone through in order to make this exhibit possible? Did you invite the artists to join you?

JMRCB: I always wanted to curate and organized an art show. But I’m still a novice in the art scene. I don’t know a lot of people. But then I thought, maybe if I organize an exhibit I will meet a lot of people. So I decided to pursue it.

It was around November when I became fully decided to make it happen. After conceptualizing the exhibit concept I started to invite my artist’s friends one-by-one to participate. Then I went to my artist friend and mentor Noel Pocot to ask him to help me out in making a proposal and exhibit concept letter for the prospect galleries. My first choice was My Little Art Place in Greenhills because I found the venue spacious and the atmosphere is great. And since the gallery is just a year old I saw it as a great venue for holding my first exhibit.

Maya, owner of the gallery, after responding to my email invited me to meet her. I was a bit nervous because it was my first time to make a deal with a gallery owner. I even invited my artist friend Xander Calceta to accompany in the meeting. Xander gave me a lot of confidence because I know he is experienced in this matter.

She was interested about the art show I was proposing but the only problem was that they had planned to hold a summer art workshop for kids. It was going to be messy at the gallery and it would not be a good idea to hang artworks there. That’s why they decided not to hold any art exhibit during April and May. She proposed to have it moved earlier or later. In the end, since it would also be my birthday exhibit, she decided to give me a two-week slot so I could open the show on my birth date.

NSB: Why Resurrection? Does the exhibit have something to do with your personal experiences?

Resureccion because I had planned to open it on my birthday, March 29. Resureccion was supposed to be my name but because it was too long they decided to shorten it to “Recci”. My grandmother gave me that name because I was born on Black Saturday and I am also the first-born child.

I decided to pick the word as the theme of the group show because it is also a celebration of my rite of passage, as an artist, to dedicating my life to the visual arts. And I also think that the show’s theme is perfect these days because of the ongoing world economic crisis which affects all of us. The show is a visual discourse on the artists’ point of view and expression on the matters of hope within the struggles of life, be it a personal or a social concern.

NSB: Do you belong to a group of artist? What are your affiliations?

JMRCB: I don’t really have a permanent visual art group. Mostly I just hang out with some artist friends or some groups of artists and join them in sketching sessions. Before, I used to participate in nude sketching sessions in Makati. My only permanent group today is my 3D animation team, which meets every Saturday to practice and learn new techniques in animation. We’ve been meeting since 2006 and we still don’t have a name for our group. Sometimes we just call ourselves Nova Jet because we don’t have any budget for full-blown projects. (First appeared at Bulatlat.com, under its Culture Page)