Philippine Center New York

John C Abul: Las Mujeres De Mi Vida May 12th-24th 2014

Las Mujeres de Mi Vida is an exhibition of 10 medium to large-sized oil paintings. As the title suggests, the exhibition is loosely based on and illuminated by the woman in my life : my recently widowed mother, my great grand auntie, sisters, cousins and friends. I took my impressions of (and fascinations with) these woman and transported them to a different age, the late Spanish and early American periods of our country’s history. This epoch has always captivated me and on several occasions, inspired my works: the rich traditions, the elegant fashion, the poetic language, the romantic eloquence, and the glorious heroism. 

Mixed with childhood memories of vacationing in our ancestral home in Bulacan and stories told to me by elders, this series of paintings is an homage to the heroines of my life and a celebration of a bygone era known for its modest but resilient woman. As with most childhood memories, the scenes are gauze-like the details washed out, and the characters interchangeable. What you get is a vivid and strong emotion of malleable impression. In the process of translating these qualities onto the canvas, I created ten faceless portraits that capture the old world charm while paying tribute to the beauty, dignity and sophistication of the Filipina, then and now. Caught in the middle of a very ordinary domestic activity, the faceless images project their expressions through the stateliness of their demeanor, the nobility of their presence. The blank faces also allow the beholder to dig deep into his/her memory trove and substitute the subject with his/her own heroine.