by THERIZ LIZEL R. SILVANO
THE PREVIOUS years of isolation may have brought Filipinos time to ponder new realizations and meaning in their lives. In those years, the presence of anxiety and fear were felt in different situations.
Their despondency may be caused by pandemic adversaries: sickness, death of a loved one, political chaos, financial distress, or mental illness. However, human beings also have the capacity to overcome these challenges.
This was visualized by Jayson Cortez in his art exhibit titled ‘Revisioning The Breakout After Despondency.’ Cortez, whose collection centers on victory and growth amid struggles, shared how he became optimistic despite his own familial challenges.
“I think it’s so important to be optimistic during these times. That’s the baby step to move on from difficult situations. While I’m doing my pieces for this show, [my family and I] also prioritized our father’s retirement depression,” he told The Flame.
The art industry also adapted to the pandemic by having new stages in artists’ expression, Cortez said.
Wisdom illustrates a Renaissance sculpture that can be likened to a person living a solitary life who clings to the past. It holds some ancient things, half-perished flowers and books—and to its memories, seen in an abstruse image of a screaming woman.
It also suggests a willingness to change as it shows its transformation with sprouting flowers and an arm that is yet to grow.
Wisdom represents a person’s transformation after a long period of isolation, a reminder that people can learn, change and grow, while holding on to the old routines of pre-pandemic life. Moreover, the usage of a Renaissance subject indicates that growth is constant for everyone regardless of age.
Keep Calm and Flourish
The ever-changing world motivates people to work to achieve success, but it may also cause distress and mental exhaustion. It is natural for people to feel tense while at ease, similar to the subject’s body language in Cortez’s Keep Calm and Flourish.
An observant viewer may notice the hint of agitation in the subject’s posture despite sitting pleasantly on a princely chair. It may convey that when people attempt to unwind, they may still feel anxious.
However, as the painting suggests, there could also be strength in calmness. A brief moment of reflection, relaxation, a prayer, or a quick social media browse may help one to relax. It also conveys that patience and concentration bring great triumph.
Deeper Than You Think
Deeper Than You Think centers on a subject with an assemblage of flowers, a bird set to fly, and an identical version of French artist Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker. The apathetic look on the subject’s face could imply the desolate experiences and grief brought by unpleasant circumstances.
However, an image of a dove in flight is formed in the middle of the portrait, with apparent flowers in full bloom. This may reveal the peace and gentleness found in reflection and meditation, and a sign of hope in everyone regardless of what is felt at the moment.
Perhaps the exhibit awakens people’s hope that all will be well even with the disheartening effects of the pandemic.
The following works of Cortez are left for readers to ponder:
The exhibit was shown onsite and in Art Cube Gallery’s digital catalog from Dec. 14, 2021 to Jan. 8, 2022. F