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Martin Honasan

"Even These Stones Will Cry Out"

17th September (Sat) - 1st October 2016 (Sat)

Hours: 12:00-19:00, closed Sunday, Monday

Receprion: September 17th (Sat) 18:00-

YOD Gallery is pleased to present "Even These Stones Will Cry Out," a first solo exhibition by a Filipino Artist Martin Honasan (b.1976, Quezon City, Philippines). Honasan has been receiving much attention for his unique abstract portraits focusing on face, where paint, canvas and human face are treated as equal components. With Psychological theories such as Gestalt and pareidolia that underlie, his works question morality, spirituality, existence and meaning through the image generated by the mind and sight of the audience.‬

In June 2016, as a YOD artist in residence, Honasan spent a month in Osaka working and living with his family. What kind of effect did the life in Osaka have on the artist? Please take this opportunity to see it in person at YOD Gallery. 

Artist Statement

When we arrived in Shōeichō, a town in Neyagawa-shi, a city in Osaka-fu, Japan, its intricacy was immediately apparent, but there was also an effortless simplicity about it. In any new country I visit, the first thing I notice is the texture of the terrain -- the land and the structures that have flourished on its surface. The physical arrangement of a city and the flow of its traffic give me a basic sense of the layers of systems in place and the sensibilities of its people. I encountered a wide variety of locals in Osaka Prefecture: well-dressed business men, women with babies, and some very agile elderly people — most of them were riding simple everyday bicycles called mamachari, or "mom's bicycle" in English. I was amazed at the specific layers of history, refined through many generations, culminating in a particular kind of gentleness and sophistication that was striking to my outsider point of view. 

During this stay, a Japanese friend brought me to a temple in the middle of Yodoyabashi, one of the busier cities within Osaka-fu. He says it is where he goes for some quiet, and to pray for success. I thought of the concept of "worship," which is often associated with temples, priests, and rituals. In my own belief system the person who worships becomes a temple, and worshippers gather together as a church -- worship is what one gives to that which is most worthy and valuable. In many ways, all people are temples, and we build our lives around that which we value the most. The worshipped would be at the core of one’s identity, and at the forefront of one’s praises.

The paintings in this series are metaphors for one of the most universal of human impulses, the act of worship and how it shapes our identity. My work begins with damage as its starting point. Almost every bit of painted scrap of canvas collected from my workspace is recycled and added to the succeeding series of works, producing new sheddings in the process. I brought these fragments to Neyagawa-shi and combined them with new materials I bought in Osaka. With blade and shears, I puncture, cut up, and tear apart portions of fresh canvas and older paintings. These scraps are folded, crumpled, and collaged onto new surfaces. They are painted with broad, arbitrary strokes that progress into narrower, delicate brushwork until recognizable elements of a human face emerge.

We use our faces as instruments to express our most immediate and internal emotions. In this series, I used elements of my own face, and people close to me, to convey the intimate nature of worship and our experiences. 

As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples." He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out." (Luke 19:37-40 ESV)

Even These Stones Will Cry Out is based on a passage from the Book of Luke in the Bible. When the Pharisees wanted to silence Jesus’ followers, he responded that all creation was made to praise God. The works in this exhibit are a meditation on the human impulse to worship. The paintings in this series are metaphors for worship, prayer, and other acts of faith leading to the revelation of one’s identity.

 ― Martin Honasan

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