Marionne Contreras (b. 1992) is a visual artist who works with an array of materials and media to produce a heterogeneity of output, from fiberglass sculptures to acrylic paintings on wood to assemblages to textile-based works. These are often with poetic themes of memory, intimacy, femininity, synthesis between fiction and reality.
There is always a personal narrative in Contreras’ works despite her conscious decision to highlight their ornamental nature, to always stage them as a showcase of beauty given the parameters in which the very idea of “the beautiful” is meant to work. This is evident in her Plant Series, first seen in her 2018 one-person exhibition in the Cultural Center of the Philippines entitled, A Collection Of Bruises, Curses, Baby Teeth, where her plant sculptures, in their contradicting structure: the concrete that weighs the softness of the textile mass down while propping it up, the fluidity of the framework that is meant to hold everything together, decoratively stood in a tableau as physical expressions of adoration.
In This Hole Feels Womb-like, Contreras’ 2019 one-person exhibition in Vinyl On Vinyl Gallery, through a continuation of her Plant Series and the sentiments they carry, Contreras not only presented beauty as an end in itself, but described the futility in the labor-intensive attempt of its creation which she humanly rectified by introducing excess.
Contreras’ Plant Series is a mortal effort to replicate a beauty that is ideal — one that is a product of unknowable laws of nature. She continues with her series aware that her every replication will always be ‘almost’ but never ‘is’.
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