Painting Palettes / Palette Paintings II

Elaine Navas
Silverlens, Manila

About

    Elaine Navas’ Painting Palettes / Palette Paintings II bares the liminal phases of a painter’s process --- unconscious pauses during the work’s production phase prior to its release to the public. With palettes as evidence of this threshold, these artefactual objects from friends are unwitting witnesses to each individual’s triumph, frustration, compulsion, and quotidian routines that are usually kept in secret in their intimate studio spaces. These palettes are abstracted visual chronicles to creative undertaking, with every stroke and erasure, every mixture and segregation of pigment archived on these surfaces – unique and specific for every piece created. The form, material and shape it takes also speak fondly and intuitively of the artist that utilizes it.

    One becomes privy to the juxtaposition of the palettes with Navas’ paintings in the exhibition. Although indirectly, as the palettes are set at differing corners, the works speak constantly to the paintings --- similar to an ongoing dialogue that the artist herself would have with colleagues and friends from whom the objects belong to. Much like an archeological endeavor, each piece tries to create faithful representations in order to reveal the personas and idiosyncrasies hidden beneath the hardened pigments on the surface. Distinct color schemes, strokes and idiosyncratic practices of the artists who have used the palettes, as well as the undeniable connection between the maker and the materials that surrounds him/her in producing a work come to fore. Levels of transference are applied --- from framing the objects themselves to turning them into dedicated portraits formed through her recognizable impasto technique.

    This interest in these “unsung heroes” sparked from a talk with the artist’s professor, mentor and confidant, the late Roberto Chabet. He told Navas of a dream where he envisioned her  creating paintings of palettes. Then began the artist’s process of collecting from colleagues whose works had appealed to her, which was then sorted out, imitated and exhibited. This also brought up conversations, as an object that is often unmentioned and undeclared is now seen. The term “unsung heroes” came from an exchange between Navas and fellow painter Robert Langenegger. It acknowledges the value of an overlooked object despite its being crucial to the production of the works that one puts out in the public.

    Palettes are rarely alluded to, as they are mundane things that are merely used and later on cleaned for the next series. Even the act of cleaning and rendering it anew with every work utters the transience of the markings and traces set on its surface, never again repeated no matter the similarity in range of hues or type of paint utilized. Each palette remains unmatched with every cleanse, however at the same time always leaving hints from its possessor --- making it as individual as the painter himself/herself.

    In viewing a painting about using paint, through the lens of the palette, the separations that usually persist disappear as process turns into output, the object into subject, and the personal into public. This blurring made visible through Navas’ own interpretation manifests it a life of its own, yet at the same time reinforcing the connections that it had from its creator. To exhibit the palette, that is ultimately at the core of the creative processes that yield one’s paintings, is to commemorate the practice of painting itself, the person behind the canvas, and the freedoms and tensions that come with producing pieces. It is to prompt notice to and honor the unseen practices and invisible labors that bring out the art works that one is left to admire and appreciate.

     

    Words by Iris Ferrer

    Elaine Roberto Navas (b. 1964) completed Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1985 prior to taking up her second degree from University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, gradating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Painting in 1991. Navas was the recipient of Honorable Mention (2004, 2002) from Philip Morris Singapore Art Awards, and Juror’s Choice (1995, 1994) from the Art Association of the Philippines.

Elaine Navas’ Painting Palettes / Palette Paintings II bares the liminal phases of a painter’s process --- unconscious pauses during the work’s production phase prior to its release to the public. With palettes as evidence of this threshold, these artefactual objects from friends are unwitting witnesses to each individual’s triumph, frustration, compulsion, and quotidian routines that are usually kept in secret in their intimate studio spaces. These palettes are abstracted visual chronicles to creative undertaking, with every stroke and erasure, every mixture and segregation of pigment archived on these surfaces – unique and specific for every piece created. The form, material and shape it takes also speak fondly and intuitively of the artist that utilizes it.

One becomes privy to the juxtaposition of the palettes with Navas’ paintings in the exhibition. Although indirectly, as the palettes are set at differing corners, the works speak constantly to the paintings --- similar to an ongoing dialogue that the artist herself would have with colleagues and friends from whom the objects belong to. Much like an archeological endeavor, each piece tries to create faithful representations in order to reveal the personas and idiosyncrasies hidden beneath the hardened pigments on the surface. Distinct color schemes, strokes and idiosyncratic practices of the artists who have used the palettes, as well as the undeniable connection between the maker and the materials that surrounds him/her in producing a work come to fore. Levels of transference are applied --- from framing the objects themselves to turning them into dedicated portraits formed through her recognizable impasto technique.

This interest in these “unsung heroes” sparked from a talk with the artist’s professor, mentor and confidant, the late Roberto Chabet. He told Navas of a dream where he envisioned her  creating paintings of palettes. Then began the artist’s process of collecting from colleagues whose works had appealed to her, which was then sorted out, imitated and exhibited. This also brought up conversations, as an object that is often unmentioned and undeclared is now seen. The term “unsung heroes” came from an exchange between Navas and fellow painter Robert Langenegger. It acknowledges the value of an overlooked object despite its being crucial to the production of the works that one puts out in the public.

Palettes are rarely alluded to, as they are mundane things that are merely used and later on cleaned for the next series. Even the act of cleaning and rendering it anew with every work utters the transience of the markings and traces set on its surface, never again repeated no matter the similarity in range of hues or type of paint utilized. Each palette remains unmatched with every cleanse, however at the same time always leaving hints from its possessor --- making it as individual as the painter himself/herself.

In viewing a painting about using paint, through the lens of the palette, the separations that usually persist disappear as process turns into output, the object into subject, and the personal into public. This blurring made visible through Navas’ own interpretation manifests it a life of its own, yet at the same time reinforcing the connections that it had from its creator. To exhibit the palette, that is ultimately at the core of the creative processes that yield one’s paintings, is to commemorate the practice of painting itself, the person behind the canvas, and the freedoms and tensions that come with producing pieces. It is to prompt notice to and honor the unseen practices and invisible labors that bring out the art works that one is left to admire and appreciate.

 

Words by Iris Ferrer

Elaine Roberto Navas (b. 1964) completed Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1985 prior to taking up her second degree from University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, gradating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Painting in 1991. Navas was the recipient of Honorable Mention (2004, 2002) from Philip Morris Singapore Art Awards, and Juror’s Choice (1995, 1994) from the Art Association of the Philippines.

Installation Views

Works

Elaine Navas
Ariel
2018
4490
2
oil on canvas
72h x 48w in • 182.88h x 121.92w cm
3
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Elaine Navas
Ariel
4498
2
artist's palette
18.50h x 14w in • 46.99h x 35.56w cm
-1
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Elaine Navas
Jan
2018
4491
2
oil on canvas
48h x 48w in • 121.92h x 121.92w cm
1
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Elaine Navas
John
2018
4492
2
oil on canvas
48h x 72w in • 121.92h x 182.88w cm
1
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Elaine Navas
John
4501
2
artist's palette
20.50h x 17.50w in • 52.07h x 44.45w cm
-1
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Elaine Navas
Jan
4500
2
artist's palette
18.50h x 18.50w in • 46.99h x 46.99w cm
-1
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Elaine Navas
Malang
2018
4494
2
oil on canvas
96h x 60w in • 243.84h x 152.40w cm
1
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(diptych)
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Elaine Navas
Malang
4504
2
artist's palette
14.37h x 19.96w in • 36.50h x 50.70w cm
-1
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Elaine Navas
Pam
4502
2
artist's palette
16h x 11w in • 40.64h x 27.94w cm
-1
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Elaine Navas
Manuel
2018
4493
2
oil on canvas
84h x 60w in • 213.36h x 152.40w cm
1
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Elaine Navas
Pam
2018
4495
2
oil on canvas
60h x 48w in • 152.40h x 121.92w cm
1
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Elaine Navas
Yasmin
2018
4497
2
oil on canvas
96h x 72w in • 243.84h x 182.88w cm
1
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(diptych)
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Elaine Navas
Patty
2018
4496
2
oil on canvas
60h x 48w in • 152.40h x 121.92w cm
1
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Elaine Navas
Manuel
4499
2
artist's palette
19.25h x 14.50w in • 48.90h x 36.83w cm
-1
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Elaine Navas
Yasmin
4505
2
artist's palette
11.61h x 15.35w in • 29.50h x 39w cm
-1
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