Exoskeleton

Nicole Coson
Silverlens, Manila

About

    Silverlens Galleries is proud to present Exoskeleton, the solo exhibition of the London-based, Filipino artist Nicole Coson. In this series composed of large-scale monotype prints that diachronically plots the gradual breakdown of blinds, Coson ruminates on this prosaic architectural solution that negotiates the disclosure/exposure of private life as well as the extent to which the outside may be framed and observed, either through a small gap between the slats or their full retreat into the rail mechanism. Invisibility may be calibrated and made tactical; opacity relents to transparency, and vice versa; the angle of sight is what orders the world.

    The context of this show, which remains to be a persistent and pernicious reality, is the pandemic centered in the United Kingdom’s capital, crippled by months-long lockdown orders and threatened by a COVID-19 strain, called the UK variant, that is said to be more transmissible and fatal. Other people’s bodies, as possible vectors of the infection, become suspect. The house, with its association as the soul’s refuge (now anachronistic), achieves a more militarized meaning: a fortress, a line of defense, a protective shield from the diseased others. The outside is a site of contamination. It may only be allowed as slices of fractured glimpses mediated by the blinds. The one inside may scan and scrutinize; but the one outside, fool-hardy in their open imperilment reckless or otherwise, may not. The optical reciprocity is frustrated.

    As such, the blinds act as a mode of deliberate concealment, a theme that Coson has explored in her other exhibitions, chiefly in her Camouflage series. With the slats individually painted and laid gradually under the press, the blinds transmit their form onto the cloth—the real made to testify to the illusory representation it forges. Through repeated pressing, the rhythmically meditative horizontal bands unravel, with the slats breaking away from a tightly rigorous pattern to an improvisatory mode sparked by the unforeseen tension between machine, matrix, and medium. Lines buckle, overlap, zigzag. Paint reveals cloth which reveals ultimately nothing: there is no there there (Gertrude Stein). Sequentiality is harmed beyond repair.

    Read symbolically, the disintegration of the blinds, fastidiously documented, alludes to the unravelling of defenses, to the unforetold exposure to susceptibility. The others, temporarily held at bay, may pivot their gaze. Emboldened by the awareness that they are being observed, they may stare back, establish eyepaths, plot vantage points. The forceful imposition of inwardness brought about by the exclusionary function of the blinds evaporates. Disclosure endangers. The house, separated by a mere sliver of glass, has to reckon with its conflicted correspondence to the exterior.      

    As material imprint of a destroyed mechanism, the blinds’ initial promise of revelation gives way to the rude realization that these works are exoskeletal extension of the interior gallery walls, in the same way that the building envelope of the house is the exoskeletal extension of the fragile, vulnerable body (made all the more apparent in light of the rampaging global infection)—an arbitrary and penetrable armor. At once a seduction and a disavowal of sight, Exoskeleton offers the notion of painting as a membrane, as a dislocated window, as an exquisite disruption to the predictability of vision.

    Words by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana.

    Nicole Coson (b. 1992, Manila, lives and works in the UK) aims to examine the concept of invisibility, not only as a passive position as a result of erasure, the problematic dichotomisation of culture but also its potential as an effective artistic strategy. Can invisibility be seen not just as a disability but as an advantage or ability? Like the optical survival strategies utilised by both prey and predator in the natural world? Who can benefit from this tactic of concealment and dissimulation and how can one apply these strategies?

    In her work, Coson explores the economies of visibility and disappearance in the case of overlooked bodies, invisibility in warfare as tactical counter measures, and cultural visibility in art. Coson’s work searches for a productive position within invisibility that lends us an opportunity in which we are able to negotiate the terms of our visibility. To vanish and reappear as we please and as necessary to our own personal and artistic objectives, to effectively disappear amongst the grass blades until the very moment we must break that illusion, the very moment when it is time to strike.

    Carlomar Arcangel Daoana is an art writer, university instructor, and poet based in Manila, Philippines. The first recipient of the Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prize for Art Criticism in 2014, he has been chronicling Philippine art in his column, “Subliminal,” for the national broadsheet, The Philippine Star. In 2015, he won the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE)-Alice Guillermo Art Criticism Award. Yellow Ambiguities, an exhibition which he co-curated with Fr. Jason Dy, SJ at the Ateneo Art Gallery in 2019, explored the historical, political, phenomenological, and spiritual domains of color. For his poetry, he was awarded the Grand Prize in English poetry in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. Currently, he teaches art writing, literary, and fine arts courses at the Fine Arts Department of the Ateneo de Manila University.

Silverlens Galleries is proud to present Exoskeleton, the solo exhibition of the London-based, Filipino artist Nicole Coson. In this series composed of large-scale monotype prints that diachronically plots the gradual breakdown of blinds, Coson ruminates on this prosaic architectural solution that negotiates the disclosure/exposure of private life as well as the extent to which the outside may be framed and observed, either through a small gap between the slats or their full retreat into the rail mechanism. Invisibility may be calibrated and made tactical; opacity relents to transparency, and vice versa; the angle of sight is what orders the world.

The context of this show, which remains to be a persistent and pernicious reality, is the pandemic centered in the United Kingdom’s capital, crippled by months-long lockdown orders and threatened by a COVID-19 strain, called the UK variant, that is said to be more transmissible and fatal. Other people’s bodies, as possible vectors of the infection, become suspect. The house, with its association as the soul’s refuge (now anachronistic), achieves a more militarized meaning: a fortress, a line of defense, a protective shield from the diseased others. The outside is a site of contamination. It may only be allowed as slices of fractured glimpses mediated by the blinds. The one inside may scan and scrutinize; but the one outside, fool-hardy in their open imperilment reckless or otherwise, may not. The optical reciprocity is frustrated.

As such, the blinds act as a mode of deliberate concealment, a theme that Coson has explored in her other exhibitions, chiefly in her Camouflage series. With the slats individually painted and laid gradually under the press, the blinds transmit their form onto the cloth—the real made to testify to the illusory representation it forges. Through repeated pressing, the rhythmically meditative horizontal bands unravel, with the slats breaking away from a tightly rigorous pattern to an improvisatory mode sparked by the unforeseen tension between machine, matrix, and medium. Lines buckle, overlap, zigzag. Paint reveals cloth which reveals ultimately nothing: there is no there there (Gertrude Stein). Sequentiality is harmed beyond repair.

Read symbolically, the disintegration of the blinds, fastidiously documented, alludes to the unravelling of defenses, to the unforetold exposure to susceptibility. The others, temporarily held at bay, may pivot their gaze. Emboldened by the awareness that they are being observed, they may stare back, establish eyepaths, plot vantage points. The forceful imposition of inwardness brought about by the exclusionary function of the blinds evaporates. Disclosure endangers. The house, separated by a mere sliver of glass, has to reckon with its conflicted correspondence to the exterior.      

As material imprint of a destroyed mechanism, the blinds’ initial promise of revelation gives way to the rude realization that these works are exoskeletal extension of the interior gallery walls, in the same way that the building envelope of the house is the exoskeletal extension of the fragile, vulnerable body (made all the more apparent in light of the rampaging global infection)—an arbitrary and penetrable armor. At once a seduction and a disavowal of sight, Exoskeleton offers the notion of painting as a membrane, as a dislocated window, as an exquisite disruption to the predictability of vision.

Words by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana.

Nicole Coson (b. 1992, Manila, lives and works in the UK) aims to examine the concept of invisibility, not only as a passive position as a result of erasure, the problematic dichotomisation of culture but also its potential as an effective artistic strategy. Can invisibility be seen not just as a disability but as an advantage or ability? Like the optical survival strategies utilised by both prey and predator in the natural world? Who can benefit from this tactic of concealment and dissimulation and how can one apply these strategies?

In her work, Coson explores the economies of visibility and disappearance in the case of overlooked bodies, invisibility in warfare as tactical counter measures, and cultural visibility in art. Coson’s work searches for a productive position within invisibility that lends us an opportunity in which we are able to negotiate the terms of our visibility. To vanish and reappear as we please and as necessary to our own personal and artistic objectives, to effectively disappear amongst the grass blades until the very moment we must break that illusion, the very moment when it is time to strike.

Carlomar Arcangel Daoana is an art writer, university instructor, and poet based in Manila, Philippines. The first recipient of the Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prize for Art Criticism in 2014, he has been chronicling Philippine art in his column, “Subliminal,” for the national broadsheet, The Philippine Star. In 2015, he won the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE)-Alice Guillermo Art Criticism Award. Yellow Ambiguities, an exhibition which he co-curated with Fr. Jason Dy, SJ at the Ateneo Art Gallery in 2019, explored the historical, political, phenomenological, and spiritual domains of color. For his poetry, he was awarded the Grand Prize in English poetry in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. Currently, he teaches art writing, literary, and fine arts courses at the Fine Arts Department of the Ateneo de Manila University.

Installation Views

Works

Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3676
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC060
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3677
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC061
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3678
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC062
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3679
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC063
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3680
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC064
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3681
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC065
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3682
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC066
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3683
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC067
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3684
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC068
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3685
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC069
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3686
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC070
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3706
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC071
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3707
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC072
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3708
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC073
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3709
2
oil on canvas
78.74h x 51.18w in • 200h x 130w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC074
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3714
2
oil on canvas
59.06h x 43.31w in • 150h x 110w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC075
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3713
2
oil on canvas
59.06h x 43.31w in • 150h x 110w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC076
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3712
2
oil on canvas
59.06h x 43.31w in 150h x 110w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC077
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3711
2
oil on canvas
59.06h x 43.31w in • 150h x 110w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC078
Details
Nicole Coson
Untitled
2020
3710
2
oil on canvas
59.06h x 43.31w in • 150h x 110w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
SPI_NC079
Details

Video

Artist Page

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
VG8gZ2FpbiBhY2Nlc3MgdG8gZXhjbHVzaXZlIGdhbGxlcnkgaW5mb3JtYXRpb24sPGJyIC8+CmFzIHdlbGwgYXMgb3VyIGxhdGVzdCBleGhpYml0aW9ucyBhbmQgYXJ0aXN0IHVwZGF0ZXMsPGJyIC8+CnNpZ24gdXAgZm9yIG91ciBuZXdzbGV0dGVyIGJlbG93Lg==