Galeria Paloma tackles digital and AI-created art
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GALERIA PALOMA’s maiden exhibit at Art Fair Philippines, which will run on Feb. 17 to 19, will embrace digital art, and a hot topic in the art world, the capabilities and limitations of AI-created (artificial intelligence) art.
The exhibit, called “Parallel,” takes the cue “from the parallelism of emerging realities in web3 and the digital art sphere,” according to a release. The exhibition will feature physical art (paintings and sculpture), “phygital” (physical and digital) art, and digital/new media art. As an offshoot to the parallel theme, the exhibition will be simultaneously displayed at another physical site: NINFA Labs in Milan, Italy, furthering Galeria Paloma’s aim to be an international platform for its artists and an example of technological advances allowing for an original work of art to be exhibited in two (or more) locations.
Collectors of each artwork will be owners of both the digital and physical forms of each piece, including the non-fungible token (NFT). Meanwhile, the digital artworks will be displayed on Samsung’s The Frame television sets (selected for its 4K resolution, smart TV features, matte, non-reflective screen, and art frame-like bezels).
Kimi Delgado, Galeria Paloma director, discussed the gallery’s own interest in digital art during a Makati press conference on Feb. 2. “We realized that digital art has experienced — can I say a ‘renaissance’? Digital art has been around for a long, long time, since the advent of computers. In the past few years, it’s become quite popular in a more mainstream scale because of blockchain technology making it possible for people to trade it easily, to prove authenticity, to prove ownership.
“We’ve always been very, very interested in digital art. We felt we also had a solution on how to convince or to sort of assuage hesitations with collectors about collecting digital art, because they can be minted on the blockchain,” she said.
Ms. Delgado also pointed to technological advances that make it possible to display digital art in public. “We just felt it was the right time.
“Whether or not you buy or trade them in cryptocurrency or not, we feel that they have an inherent value,” she said. “It’s looking pretty bright. As you can see, our artists are very talented, and the Philippines is really full of talented artists, not just in traditional art, but now we’re seeing how digital artists have really come to the fore.”
The featured artists range from senior painters whose works are now imbued with augmented reality, to digital natives who started in grade school.
The artists participating in “Parallels” are Skye Nicolas, Luis Buenaventura, Bjorn Calleja, Jopet Arias, The Alarcon Brothers, Carlos, Wyn-Lyn Tan, Raymond Lauchengco, AJ Dimarucot, Aswang, Sevi Agregado, Isaiah Cacnio, and Sheila Ledesma.
Skye Nicolas is a post-conceptual artist whose works range from large format paintings, and filmmaking and photography, to public space interventions, sculpture, and digital artworks. The artist is exhibiting his very first Walkman readymade paired with an NFT in this exhibit.
Luis Buenaventura’s digitally native works for “Parallel”bring to light the inability of AI to draw/create hands compared to “human” artists, placing on center stage the conversation about whether AI could possibly replace humans as the leading artists in the creation of art. He is most notably known as one of the artists of Curio Cards, recognized as the first work of art ever minted on the Ethereum blockchain and which sold at Christie’s for $1.2 million, the auction house’s first lot ever offered in cryptocurrency. Mr. Buenaventura also holds the record for the highest-selling digitally native NFT made by a Filipino artist.
Bjorn Calleja is a painter and interdisciplinary artist who has received accolades locally and abroad, and more recently for his NFT projects exhibited in Art Basel Hong Kong and SEA Focus in Singapore. For “Parallel,” his largely recognizable, humanoid characters that figure heavily in his paintings and animated GIFs/NFTs are rendered as sculptures in tiny scale, unidentifiable as beings except on the basis of their phenotypic sex, which belies their larger-than-life presence in and impact on his creative oeuvre. The NFTs of these sculptures are GLB files or GL Transmission Format Binary Files which are standard file formats for 3D models, allowing for 3D viewing of the static object.
For Jopet Arias, the founder of CryptoArtPh, the adoption of the metaverse is parallel to our ingrained human longing for something beyond our reality. Mr. Arias infuses his work with spiritual themes, interspersing realist painting with surrealist and fantastical images and layers them with his trademark augmented reality renderings that stand as artworks in themselves.
Artists in their own right, Ejem, Aldrine, and Didier Alarcon are three of the four Alarcon Brothers who have collaborated on artworks and, most recently, digital artworks that have earned them recognition in the cryptoart scene. Their work for the exhibit will be another collaborative digital artwork.
Paintings by Carlos are included in “Parallel,” this time with an augmented reality layer featuring a time lapse — an evolution of the paintings’ skies from night to day with no change to their main subjects, making light of parallel time. Sculptures by the artist delving into his signature theme of the nobility of work will also be exhibited.
Wyn-Lyn Tan is a Singaporean painter and artist whose work has been exhibited widely, including New York, Norway, and Art Basel Hong Kong. Her paintings can be found in the permanent collection of the Singapore Art Museum. Her works are currently on exhibit at the Esplanade Tunnel in Singapore until May, launched at the Singapore Arts Fair last month. Her generative work is the result of using specially programmed artificial intelligence programs to train a curated set of thousands of images of her work.
Raymond Lauchengco, theater and film artist, photographer, and director adds functional art creator and digital artist to his resume. “Parallel” offers Mr. Lauchengco’s select collection of salvaged, found wood pieces turned into works of functional art layered with a digital artwork based on each work’s thematic narrative.
An artist, art designer, illustrator, and graphic designer, AJ Dimarucot has enjoyed a career creating campaigns for international brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, Marvel, Star Wars, adidas, the NFL, MLB, and NBA. As the art director of Ogilvy, he was behind the establishment of its digital department. He also co-founded the Communication Design Association of the Philippines, and started the Facebook community Filipinomads Creative Network to help Filipino creatives work for brands all over the world.
Meanwhile, Aswang is the anonymous illustrator behind the Aswang Collection and Aswang Tribe, whose works have garnered over 600 Ethereum (over P50 million) in trading volume. For Parallel, Aswang will be exhibiting one of his pieces, Nine Mananaggals, which continues to reflect their desire to use NFTs as a medium for sharing Filipino ancient, archetypal, and pre-colonial stories.
Sevi Agregado’s colorful paintings of wildlife will be displayed, employing augmented reality as an added layer to the works on canvas. He is considered the first Filipino child NFT artist, minting his first works while still in the first grade. Digital versions of his paintings have been exhibited in Times Square (for NFT.NYC), Art Basel Miami, various galleries in the United States and Singapore, as well as publications like Vogue Singapore and The Straits times.
Portals is Isaiah Cacnio’s collection for “Parallel”. Recognizing how the metaverse has opened doorways into different realities, his work is an offshoot of his genesis collection, Fractals, which are his abstracted, colorized, and animated depictions of these never-ending mathematical patterns, scales, and spherical coordinates. A graduate of engineering, Mr. Cacnio also sees Portals as looking into his own creative process and how his creative and mathematical inclinations interact.
Sheila Ledesma’s visual arts career has focused largely on surrealist collages using unusual mediums like old makeup. Surrealist and Dadaist techniques contribute to the composition of her artworks. Her contributions to “Parallel”are a set of works that mark milestones in her journey in the NFT space.
“Parallel” will be on view at Art Fair Philippines 2023 on Feb. 17 to 19 at Booth 27-A at the sixth floor of The Link carpark in Ayala Center, Makati. — J.L. Garcia