Bio

Renato Orara (b. 1961, Philippines) draws discrete objects stripped of context, meaning, and narrative that are the currency of Realism to create vessels of ink and energy that push the mind beyond the limits set by language and concepts.

With conceptual roots that go back to his interventions, performance art, and exhibitions on the streets of Manila in the late 70s, Orara took an eight-year hiatus from art-making to practice Zen meditation. Re-emerging in New York in 1989, he resumed his art, this time taking it up as a discipline that mirrored his practice. He filled the blank pages of a book with commonplace objects, layering them with ballpoint ink until they ceased to be about things.

By 1996 his work, "Ten Thousand Things That Breathe," found their way into alternative spaces in Bangkok, Tokyo, and Manila. In 1998 and 1999 he had his first solo exhibitions in the US at the Palo Alto Cultural Center and at Hosfelt Gallery in California.

His exhibition at the Drawing Center in NYC (2002) paved the way for inclusion in Initial Encounters (2004), a show featuring ten artists selected by Drawing Center curators from a decade of exhibitions at the institution. Both shows ushered in a string of gallery exhibitions in the US (Andrea Rosen Gallery, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, Gallery Joe, OSP Gallery, Joseé Bienvenu Gallery, Leo Fortuna Gallery) and other parts of the world (the Travelling Gallery, Dominique Fiat Gallery, Alon Segev Gallery, and Silverlens Gallery).

Over time, Orara re-introduced concepts into his work branching out into the following series: "Drawer Drawings," "Iraq Memorial," "Bookworks," and "Bloodworks." His works are in numerous private and public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX, and Singapore Art Museum.

Renato Orara (b. 1961, Philippines) draws discrete objects stripped of context, meaning, and narrative that are the currency of Realism to create vessels of ink and energy that push the mind beyond the limits set by language and concepts.

With conceptual roots that go back to his interventions, performance art, and exhibitions on the streets of Manila in the late 70s, Orara took an eight-year hiatus from art-making to practice Zen meditation. Re-emerging in New York in 1989, he resumed his art, this time taking it up as a discipline that mirrored his practice. He filled the blank pages of a book with commonplace objects, layering them with ballpoint ink until they ceased to be about things.

By 1996 his work, "Ten Thousand Things That Breathe," found their way into alternative spaces in Bangkok, Tokyo, and Manila. In 1998 and 1999 he had his first solo exhibitions in the US at the Palo Alto Cultural Center and at Hosfelt Gallery in California.

His exhibition at the Drawing Center in NYC (2002) paved the way for inclusion in Initial Encounters (2004), a show featuring ten artists selected by Drawing Center curators from a decade of exhibitions at the institution. Both shows ushered in a string of gallery exhibitions in the US (Andrea Rosen Gallery, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, Gallery Joe, OSP Gallery, Joseé Bienvenu Gallery, Leo Fortuna Gallery) and other parts of the world (the Travelling Gallery, Dominique Fiat Gallery, Alon Segev Gallery, and Silverlens Gallery).

Over time, Orara re-introduced concepts into his work branching out into the following series: "Drawer Drawings," "Iraq Memorial," "Bookworks," and "Bloodworks." His works are in numerous private and public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX, and Singapore Art Museum.

Untitled, 07/2018 (from the ongoing series Ten Thousand Things That Breathe)
2018
8790
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Ballpoint ink on torn paper. variable dimensions
15h x 9.5w in • 38.10h x 24.13w cm (approx.)
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Untitled (from the Iraq Memorial series)
2007
2909
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Ballpoint pen on paper
11h x 11w in • 27.94h x 27.94w cm
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untitled, 06/2010 (from the ongoing series Ten Thousand Things That Breathe)
2010
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ballpoint ink on paper
8h x 5.50w in • 20.32h x 13.97w cm
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Untitled, 12/2014 (from the ongoing series Ten Thousand Things That Breathe)
2014
2823
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ballpoint ink on paper
11.02h x 10.51w in • 28h x 26.70w cm
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Untitled, 2020-01 (from the ongoing series Ten Thousand Things that Breathe)
2020
918
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ballpoint ink on paper
11h x 10.50w in • 27.94h x 26.67w cm
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B 2778 E5 M5 1952 (The Critique of Practical Reason by Immanuel Kant)
2008
914
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Durst Lambda photograph
16h x 20w in 40.64h x 50.80w cm
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Edition of 20
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New Yorker - 08-15 June 2015 issue (from the ongoing series Bookworks)
2015
917
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ballpoint ink on magazine page
10.8 x 15.5 x 0.1 in • 27.4 x 39.4 x 0.3 cm (spread); 10.8 x 7.7 x 0.2 in • 27.4 x 19.6 x 0.5 cm (closed)
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Untitled, 06/2014 (from the ongoing series Ten Thousand Things That Breathe)
2014
2824
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ballpoint ink on paper
11h x 10.50w in • 27.94h x 26.67w cm
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All The Names Of The Lord (from the ongoing series, "Bookworks")
2017
920
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ballpoint ink on bookpage
9.6h x 13.19w x 1.18d in • 24.3h x 33.5w x 3d cm (spread); 9.6h x 6.3w x 0.79d in • 24.3h x 16w x 2d cm (closed)
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