Neue Wilden (the new wild ones) is a German term for Neo-expressionism—an artistic movement from the late 70s and 80s of expressive painting trying to describe an abstract narrative of recognizable objects and manifested in a style of rough and highly-emotional vivid colours.
While Transavantgarde is the Italian version of this and was revived after World War II, encouraging back emotion—especially that of “joy” through figurative art. And truly, over the last decade or so, our society has been through many changes—politically, technologically, and environmentally—transforming in a rate that we could only try and cope up with, and most of the time with such high costs.
For some of us, it seems like in every advancement our society makes, there is a giant leap backwards for humankind. For example, our reality right now is the most advanced that we have been in the shortest amount of time in history—we have been graced by all the conveniences of technology has to offer, and yet, this generation has become the loneliest of epidemic proportions. This concept of modern society’s “#blessed”, was what the group of young upcoming Davao Artists wanted to portray in their inaugural exhibit inexplicitly titled: “Thy Grace”.
The exhibit featured artwork by Winwin Pangaldin, David David, Gubb Sol Cruz, Kerwin Lorenzo, Patrick Bautista and Arvin Cantalejo, which attempted to relay the double-edged aspects of the word.
“The show speaks about the binary contrast of the word “grace”. When you think about the word, your first thought would be that of “good will”, but in reality, it also has unthinkable repercussions. All of us tried to relate the concept on our paintings from that and we thank the universe for the happy and positive energy it gave us and the support that we gained from everyone,” Gubb Sol Cruz shared.
In every historical movement, more often than not, you would see—not old people—but the younger generations at the forefront, fighting and suffering for ideas that would seem radically extreme in that period of time, but then would naturally evolve into the normalcy and practicalities of everyday life, which I think, the style of Neo-expressionism amply encapsulates.
At face-value, it looks chaotic, dishevelled, and lack any meaning, but look at it closer and it reveals the true reflection of life and what it truly is—a snake that’s eating its own tail, confused. That is why there is respite in the creation of Neo-expressionism art, its vibrancy and fun palette tries to overcome the darkness of its subject, as our society does—blindly following daily routines and appreciating the minutest of splendours which life gracefully present once in a while.
The “Thy Grace” exhibit was held at The Morning Light Art Shop and Gallery from September 20-28, 2019. The exhibitors, as do I, would like to thank the supportive community of Davao City who have transformed into a people of art-lovers (and purchasers!); and we are grateful for all the active hard work of the trailblazing Davao Artists who excited this movement from the get-go.
Despite the pessimism that comes with being alive and living, I leave you with a quote from one of my favourite series of modern streaming entertainment, and hopefully it will philosophically comfort you: “The more human I become, the less things make sense; but that’s part of the fun, right? If there were an answer I could give you to how the universe works, it wouldn’t be special; it would just be machinery fulfilling its cosmic design—it would just be a big dumb food processor. But since nothing seems to make sense, when you find something or someone that does, it’s euphoria…isn’t that remarkable? ”—Janet, ‘The Good Place’.
You can connect with me at: @introspectionandfiction and https://thekatcloset.wixsite.com/thekatcloset.