The Museum presents for its major exhibit for school year 2008-2009 an exhibition titled HISTORY OF ART, ART IN HISTORY: A Continuing Examination of Philippine Realities – an exhibition of works by Filipino artists of different genres showing their unique styles as they convey contemporary meanings, take up advocacies, define the sense of true identities, and foreground their context as Filipino.
Featured are works with powerful emotions translated into symbols and images by the artists with an intention of inviting viewers into a moment of quiet contemplation or go through meditative experience.
The artworks in the exhibition records the history of Philippine visual arts particularly, the historical development of Social Realism, and what transpired in our history. They reveal information about the historical era in which they were created, providing a glimpse of the cultural, social and political values of the past. Representative works of some members of social realists groups are featured in the exhibition.
Selected artworks from the Wili and Doreen Fernandez and University collections, private collections of some social realists and their collectors are featured in the exhibition.
History of Art and Art in History — two separate but related concepts. The first is the narrative of artistic evolution and development through time—how artistic forms and genres have sprung from within their social contexts and then unfolded and elaborated themselves according to the particular dynamics, forces, and contingencies of the time. History, of course, and the history of art, in particular, cannot be viewed in a unilinear way, but as a multilinear and ever-shifting configuration within the social, political, and economic nexus.
Thus, the history of art does not unfold itself autonomously in a kind of privileged and rarefied vacuum, with its own rate of movement or momentum. But it is, at the base, the history of human beings making art. So that it is not art in itself, or, as the literary formalists may claim, “the poem in itself”, but the painting or the work of art situated within a whole web or network of social forces, temporal and spatial, private and public, as well as local, national and global in time and place. And should one unfortunately prefer to disregard the context, then art becomes an uprooted plant, with neither continuity nor hope of future, its meaning nipped in the bud or truncated, unable to neither expand itself nor interact vitally with the forces around it in order to achieve the fullness of meaning. Art is vital within its human context resulting in a brilliant concatenation of multiple meaning-bearing signs.
This exhibition of Filipino artists of different genres shows their unique styles as they convey contemporary meanings, take up advocacies, define true identities, and foreground their context as Filipino.
One can take particular pleasure in the variety of painting genres and their different effects and techniques: oil painting on canvas, watercolor on paper, acrylic on board, or drawings and illustrations, and editorial cartoons in pencil or pen-and-ink, collages and montages, most of the work being two-dimensional. Styles on the whole may be painterly with a pain-loaded brush or draughtsmanly with the precise handling of the drawing instrument.
The styles, too, are various: while they are all representational or figurative, not all of them are realist, in the strict sense of the word, as the product of keen observation. Some have touches of the surreal and the fanciful, the visionary utopian or derelict dystopian. But, like the various forms, these styles are contingent to the conceptual shaping of the works, as well as their latent ideologies and orientations.