There’s always something very alluring about the open spaces like the sea and the sky that has seduced artists for generations. Each era has produced new ways of depicting the freedom, the joy, and even the terror that they are capable of producing. Works that depict these natural spaces have ranged from the terrifying and stark such as Delacroix’s “The Raft of the Medusa” to charming and edifying, like Monet’s depictions of Chartres Cathedral at different times of the day. Joel Geolamen’s acrylic on canvas painting called “Space Scape Piece” is a modern piece that’s vaguely reminiscent of a modern painting called “La Condition Humaine” by noted artist Renee Magritte.
Magritte’s famous piece depicts what appears like a painting set against an open window in such a manner as to create a puzzle for the viewer, leading him to wonder where the painting in the painting ends and where the outdoor space viewed through the painted window begins. In “Space Scape Piece” some similar sorcery is at work as the artist plays with the viewer’s perception.
The canvas is divided into two parts which are almost identical except for a noticeable disjoint in the middle. The viewer sees a green wall – or is it a window frame? – and part of a blue sky with a rumpled red blanket in the bottom half. The checked blanket is slightly lighter on the left-hand side of the painting, which automatically triggers the idea of another time and another space in the back of the viewer’s mind. Nevertheless, the two “halves” of the canvas which have been divided in a sort of optical illusion are united by a single feathery cloud in the middle. This continuity in this delicate white brushstroke unites both halves of the painting.
“Space Scape Piece” explores certain concepts of reality and perception by utilizing the way the viewer’s eye and mind work together and deliberately causing confusion. Yet, the effect created by this neatly geometrical and subtly disjointed piece is one of serenity and unity rather than confusion and disarray. This then begs the question of whether things have to “make sense” in order for them to be aesthetically pleasing – and the answer seems to be that they do not.
This painting and others like it may be viewed and purchased at Ching’s Resto-Kaffe in Jade Dragon’s suites, one of the nicest cheap hotels in Davao City. Thanks to Chings, it is now possible to experience culture and cuisine at this Davao hotel.