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Don't Forget to Breathe

Jan 23 - Mar 3, 2014

Altromondo Contemporanea Arte

Makati City, Ph

WORDS by Camille Banzon

"If you would know strength and patience,

welcome to the company of trees. " - Hal Borland

It takes time for trees to reach its prime beauty, a long time before it grows a multitude of branches as it extends to the sky. Akin to the art of Iya Regalario, which took 4 years to create and compile, Don’t Forget to Breathe serves as a made-public visual diary currently being exhibited at the Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea gallery in Makati. According to the artist, the inner structure of the human body is analogous to the appearance of a tree. How the veins bring blood to our viscera, Regalario imagines the way the roots swim into the depths of the earth—responsible for the tree’s life and the inspiration it gives to people. Even if a tree is inanimate, it lives. It takes in air just like the rest of us, while standing still and taking all the blows from nature and mankind. It does not forget to breathe. Regalario’s works are imaginative, surreal, and striking, using dark strokes, geometric contours, and optical illusions against figures that stitch the background of her past to the silhouette of her present. Instead of burying her dim days, she plants the seeds of her memories onto paper and ink, and cultivates them into compelling pieces of art. The illustrations are then transferred onto wood blocks and boards using various media, and mounted on panels layered with wood stain.

Aside from her experiences, Iya’s drawings touch on humanity etched on philosophical trains of thought. In one of her pieces from an illustration series entitled “Save Some Face,” Iya draws a human figure with a bag on its head, stressing that actions are best guarded by the intrinsic value bestowed upon the face--the human facade. What separates Regalario’s art from the works of today’s contemporary artists is her willingness to communicate, for her audience to know and feel what she is trying to say in every single piece. The symbolism is simple-yet-alluring, and the messages are vivid. Like the shade under a tree on a hot day, Iya Regalario’s art is comforting. The images boldly show what it’s like to feel, to live. In every stroke and curve, Iya sees an artistic representation of pain, sensibility, and hope. She draws many versions of herself in her pieces canopied by dreamlike anecdotal imagery. Looking at her work is like flipping through heavy pages of a mesmerizing and mysterious graphic novel, with the subjects lucidly expressing intended dialogue and stories without words.

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