Artist Pope Bacay (b. 1994) articulates understandings of place in his oil and acrylic paintings of architectural structures and landscape views. His fascination for places seems to be firmly rooted in his childhood home in Oriental Mindoro. He fragments representations of this house in Roxas town by painting its various elements, paying keen attention to architectural details, all minutiae that make the firmaments of home. Once fragmented, he gathers them once more into painted replicas cloaked in stillness, against a backdrop that seems nowhere.
Bacay expands his quest for belonging by grounding reality in architectural form - balconies, pierced walls, shuttered windows, roof decks, the dull surface of concrete or the tedium of grill work. He chronicles his search for places by assembling a visual geography in the form of shaped canvases. His 2015 piece My Third Home is a striking example. The work takes on the semblance of a map yet is also understood as records of places the artist has seen, passed through or lived in. In this piece as well as his abstract landscapes in oil, one intuits he searches for locations where the self could belong, albeit temporarily. His first solo exhibition (t)here at Tinaw Art Gallery in 2016 captures this journey in the immobile yet voluble vessel of architectural form.
Pope Bacay was born and raised in Oriental Mindoro, the Philippines. He graduated cum laude, studio arts from the College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines Diliman.
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