Things that came to light

Gary-Ross Pastrana
Silverlens, Manila

About

    There are rare occasions when it seems necessary to ascribe artists with personas to make light of their deviations from a usual form. This is one such occasion: where Gary-Ross Pastrana, the conceptualist, is also Gary-Ross Pastrana, the collagist.

    For almost two decades now, Gary-Ross Pastrana has managed this unlikely co-existence between his works of objects and his works on paper. And in that span, it could be said that the more they have progressed distinctly from one another, the more they have also come to complement each other.

    In 2003, Pastrana held his first ever collage show in an independent art space in Quezon City. These were small works on paper—on index cards, which had steadily accumulated since his time as a student. Most of them were part of his own personal regimen and processes, and were for his own use and amusement. Since then, Pastrana has shown his collages in more than twenty different shows, in varying sizes and formats, both here and abroad, which include solo exhibitions that regularly appear in-between projects that were more conceptual in nature.

    Moving forward to the present year, marked by the pandemic and localized lockdowns, Pastrana had found himself working in another art space--this time, in isolation, inside a studio in Calle Wright, Malate, while the rest of the world’s art programs and exhibitions have seemingly come to a halt. This compelled him to confront more intensively the material left at his disposal—his usual respite from more conceptual work—his paper cuttings, his collages. They became for him, during confinement, the moment's medium. And it was in this moment, where the proclivity for making collage also required careful introspection and consideration.

    “To understand the consistency, the regularity in returning back to collage, for me is to also understand its ‘generative’ nature, where collage seems to propagate its own narrative, and consequently, demand its own series of frames,” explains Pastrana. This pre-supposes the path to his collage, its own track, so to speak, its own ‘series of frames.’ It is in the heart of the artist’s process where such form could potentially lead to a life of its own, generating its own set of objectives and processes, its own stages of problems and resolutions. Like in certain series of collages where he would set certain parameters: to only fill-out the margins, to exclusively use triangular shaped cut-outs, or to totally eradicate the background. Such self-determined quandaries fuel the collage-motor and motivate its parallel existence to the quandaries and self-reflexivity of Pastrana’s more conceptual works. Such strategies make an artist like Pastrana inevitably continue.

    But an unwavering, yet intermittent operation of such enterprise certainly demands the artist’s attention and reflection. And this fruition—of almost twenty years of collage-making—becomes an occasion to confront certain questions about certain things, such as its viability, sustainability, or a final impetus: 

    There is also a question on how to proceed, since the decidedly linear progressions in my collage practice could sometimes lead to strange detours. But on the other hand, it also allows me the space for unencumbered work, relying heavily on  process for direction, to hopefully demonstrate adherence to parameters that I’ve set out for myself, where the focus was neither on beauty nor spectacle, but on fidelity towards a certain concept…”

    This reveals Pastrana’s complex relationship with the conditions of collage: mechanical, yet liberating through its limitations; also, blatantly two-dimensional in its routine—yet indubitably rooted in puzzling concepts. This also explains his unvarying commitment in trying to understand collage’s own significance within the local context. In organizing and curating several group shows with different artists across different generations who resort to the form with such regularity, Pastrana apparently tries to ask through this collective—what is it about collage that makes it seemingly indispensable as an art form?

    Witnessing an artist’s journey through a specific aberration in form, such as Gary-Ross Pastrana’s own excursions with collage, gives us incredible insight on the nuances in sustaining and collapsing artistic endeavors, and provides great retrospective on how these pieces have eventually come together to define the artist’s vision.

    Words by Cocoy Lumbao

    Gary-Ross Pastrana’s art has been one of the most persistent in terms of combining concepts with objects. His conceptual pieces, although loaded with poetic intensity, remain unobtrusively subtle and even almost quaint in their appearance. Coiled photographs, woven tales from found pictures in the internet, sawed off parts of a boat shipped to another country, his shirt tied into a pole to commensurate a flag, these are the slightest of turns Pastrana has his objects make to create a new text within.

    Pastrana received his Bachelor’s degree in Painting from the University of the Philippines, where he was awarded the Dominador Castañeda Award for Best Thesis. He has gained considerable experience and exposure within the region, with residencies in Bandung, Kyoto, Bangkok and Singapore. In 2006, Pastrana received the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists Award. Since then, he has shown at the Singapore Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of the Philippines, the Jorge B. Vargas Museum and was part of the 2019 The Art Encounters Biennial in Romania, 2019 Singapore Biennale, 2012 New Museum Triennale in New York, 2010 Aichi Triennale, and 2008 Busan Biennale. In 2004, he co-founded Future Prospects art space. In addition to his artistic career, Pastrana curates and organizes exhibitions in Manila and abroad.

    Exhibitions include Every Step in the Right Direction, Singapore Biennale, Singapore (2019); Art Encounters Biennial, Romania (2019); An Opera for Animals, Para Site, Hong Kong (2019), Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2019); Utopia Hasn’t Failed Me Yet, Silverlens, Manila (2018, solo); The Extra, Extra Ordinary, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila (2018); The Other Face of the Moon, Asia Culture Center, Gwangju (2017); _*Clock, Map, Knife, Mirror*_, ROH Projects, Jakarta, (2016, solo); Summa, Jorge B. Vargas Museum, Manila (2014, solo).

There are rare occasions when it seems necessary to ascribe artists with personas to make light of their deviations from a usual form. This is one such occasion: where Gary-Ross Pastrana, the conceptualist, is also Gary-Ross Pastrana, the collagist.

For almost two decades now, Gary-Ross Pastrana has managed this unlikely co-existence between his works of objects and his works on paper. And in that span, it could be said that the more they have progressed distinctly from one another, the more they have also come to complement each other.

In 2003, Pastrana held his first ever collage show in an independent art space in Quezon City. These were small works on paper—on index cards, which had steadily accumulated since his time as a student. Most of them were part of his own personal regimen and processes, and were for his own use and amusement. Since then, Pastrana has shown his collages in more than twenty different shows, in varying sizes and formats, both here and abroad, which include solo exhibitions that regularly appear in-between projects that were more conceptual in nature.

Moving forward to the present year, marked by the pandemic and localized lockdowns, Pastrana had found himself working in another art space--this time, in isolation, inside a studio in Calle Wright, Malate, while the rest of the world’s art programs and exhibitions have seemingly come to a halt. This compelled him to confront more intensively the material left at his disposal—his usual respite from more conceptual work—his paper cuttings, his collages. They became for him, during confinement, the moment's medium. And it was in this moment, where the proclivity for making collage also required careful introspection and consideration.

“To understand the consistency, the regularity in returning back to collage, for me is to also understand its ‘generative’ nature, where collage seems to propagate its own narrative, and consequently, demand its own series of frames,” explains Pastrana. This pre-supposes the path to his collage, its own track, so to speak, its own ‘series of frames.’ It is in the heart of the artist’s process where such form could potentially lead to a life of its own, generating its own set of objectives and processes, its own stages of problems and resolutions. Like in certain series of collages where he would set certain parameters: to only fill-out the margins, to exclusively use triangular shaped cut-outs, or to totally eradicate the background. Such self-determined quandaries fuel the collage-motor and motivate its parallel existence to the quandaries and self-reflexivity of Pastrana’s more conceptual works. Such strategies make an artist like Pastrana inevitably continue.

But an unwavering, yet intermittent operation of such enterprise certainly demands the artist’s attention and reflection. And this fruition—of almost twenty years of collage-making—becomes an occasion to confront certain questions about certain things, such as its viability, sustainability, or a final impetus: 

There is also a question on how to proceed, since the decidedly linear progressions in my collage practice could sometimes lead to strange detours. But on the other hand, it also allows me the space for unencumbered work, relying heavily on  process for direction, to hopefully demonstrate adherence to parameters that I’ve set out for myself, where the focus was neither on beauty nor spectacle, but on fidelity towards a certain concept…”

This reveals Pastrana’s complex relationship with the conditions of collage: mechanical, yet liberating through its limitations; also, blatantly two-dimensional in its routine—yet indubitably rooted in puzzling concepts. This also explains his unvarying commitment in trying to understand collage’s own significance within the local context. In organizing and curating several group shows with different artists across different generations who resort to the form with such regularity, Pastrana apparently tries to ask through this collective—what is it about collage that makes it seemingly indispensable as an art form?

Witnessing an artist’s journey through a specific aberration in form, such as Gary-Ross Pastrana’s own excursions with collage, gives us incredible insight on the nuances in sustaining and collapsing artistic endeavors, and provides great retrospective on how these pieces have eventually come together to define the artist’s vision.

Words by Cocoy Lumbao

Gary-Ross Pastrana’s art has been one of the most persistent in terms of combining concepts with objects. His conceptual pieces, although loaded with poetic intensity, remain unobtrusively subtle and even almost quaint in their appearance. Coiled photographs, woven tales from found pictures in the internet, sawed off parts of a boat shipped to another country, his shirt tied into a pole to commensurate a flag, these are the slightest of turns Pastrana has his objects make to create a new text within.

Pastrana received his Bachelor’s degree in Painting from the University of the Philippines, where he was awarded the Dominador Castañeda Award for Best Thesis. He has gained considerable experience and exposure within the region, with residencies in Bandung, Kyoto, Bangkok and Singapore. In 2006, Pastrana received the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists Award. Since then, he has shown at the Singapore Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of the Philippines, the Jorge B. Vargas Museum and was part of the 2019 The Art Encounters Biennial in Romania, 2019 Singapore Biennale, 2012 New Museum Triennale in New York, 2010 Aichi Triennale, and 2008 Busan Biennale. In 2004, he co-founded Future Prospects art space. In addition to his artistic career, Pastrana curates and organizes exhibitions in Manila and abroad.

Exhibitions include Every Step in the Right Direction, Singapore Biennale, Singapore (2019); Art Encounters Biennial, Romania (2019); An Opera for Animals, Para Site, Hong Kong (2019), Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2019); Utopia Hasn’t Failed Me Yet, Silverlens, Manila (2018, solo); The Extra, Extra Ordinary, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila (2018); The Other Face of the Moon, Asia Culture Center, Gwangju (2017); _*Clock, Map, Knife, Mirror*_, ROH Projects, Jakarta, (2016, solo); Summa, Jorge B. Vargas Museum, Manila (2014, solo).

Installation Views

Works

Gary-Ross Pastrana
Metro Series (Sky Train)
2021
6951
2
collage on acid-free board
20h x 15w in • 50.80h x 38.10w cm (unframed) 24.02h x 19.02w in • 61h x 48.30w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Metro Series (Street Couture)
2021
6952
2
collage on acid-free board
20h x 15w in • 50.80h x 38.10w cm (unframed) 24.02h x 19.02w in • 61h x 48.30w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Metro Series (Cross Walk)
2021
6953
2
collage on acid-free board
20h x 15w in • 50.80h x 38.10w cm (unframed) 24.02h x 19.02w in • 61h x 48.30w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Metro Series (Tunnel)
2021
6954
2
collage on acid-free board
20h x 15w in • 50.80h x 38.10w cm (unframed) 24.02h x 19.02w in • 61h x 48.30w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Metro Series (Sharks)
2021
6955
2
collage on acid-free board
20h x 15w in • 50.80h x 38.10w cm (unframed) 24.02h x 19.02w in • 61h x 48.30w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Metro Series (Debris)
2021
6956
2
collage on acid-free board
20h x 15w in • 50.80h x 38.10w cm (unframed) 24.02h x 19.02w in • 61h x 48.30w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details

Timeline

Works

Gary-Ross Pastrana
Final Fall
2019/2021
6962
2
collage (magazine pages and acrylic spray paint on board)
40h x 30w in • 101.60h x 76.20w cm (unframed) 51h x 41w x 2d in • 129.54h x 104.14w x 5.08d cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
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Gary-Ross Pastrana
Mirage
2019/2021
6963
2
collage (magazine pages and acrylic spray paint on board)
40h x 30w in • 101.60h x 76.20w cm (unframed) 51h x 41w x 2d in • 129.54h x 104.14w x 5.08d cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Surviving Troops Returning Home
2019/2021
6964
2
collage (magazine pages and acrylic spray paint on board)
40h x 30w in • 101.60h x 76.20w cm (unframed) 51h x 41w x 2d in • 129.54h x 104.14w x 5.08d cm (framed)
1
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Green Energy
2019/2021
6965
2
collage (magazine pages and acrylic spray paint on board)
40h x 30w in • 101.60h x 76.20w cm (unframed) 51h x 41w x 2d in • 129.54h x 104.14w x 5.08d cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Final Battle
2019/2021
6949
2
collage on PVC board
66h x 42w in • 167.64h x 106.68w cm (unframed) 73.25h x 49.25w x 2d in • 186.06h x 125.09w x 5.08 cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Particle Collider I
2020/2021
6950
2
collage on acid-free paper, acrylic spray paint
59hx42w in • 149.86h x 106.68w cm (unframed) 66.25h x 49.25w x 2d in • 168.28h x 125.09w x 5.08d cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
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Works

Gary-Ross Pastrana
Untitled (Furniture)
2021
6941
2
collage and acrylic paint on canvas
24h x 18w in • 60.96h x 45.72w cm
2
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Untitled (Space)
2021
6942
2
collage and acrylic paint on canvas
24h x 18w in • 60.96h x 45.72w cm
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Untitled (Crag)
2021
6943
2
collage and acrylic paint on canvas
24h x 18w in • 60.96h x 45.72w cm
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Untitled (Poles)
2021
6944
2
collage and acrylic paint on canvas
24h x 18w in • 60.96h x 45.72w cm
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Untitled (Cranes)
2021
6945
2
collage and acrylic paint on canvas
24h x 18w in • 60.96h x 45.72w cm
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Untitled (Flight)
2021
6946
2
collage and acrylic paint on canvas
24h x 18w in • 60.96h x 45.72w cm
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Untitled (Ropebridge)
2021
6947
2
collage and acrylic paint on canvas
24h x 18w in • 60.96h x 45.72w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Untitled (Skyline)
2021
6948
2
collage and acrylic paint on canvas
24h x 18w in • 60.96h x 45.72w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0
Details

Installation Views

Works

Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 1
2021
6995
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 2
2021
6996
2
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 3
2021
6997
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 4
2021
6998
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
2
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 5
2021
6999
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 6
2021
7000
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 7
2021
7001
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w • in 24hx24win 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 8
2021
7002
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
1
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 9
2021
7003
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
1
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 10
2021
7004
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 11
2021
7005
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 24h x 24w in 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
1
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 12
2021
7006
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
1
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 13
2021
7007
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 14
2021
7008
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 15
2021
7009
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 16
2021
7010
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 17
2021
7011
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on ! board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 18
2021
7012
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 19
2021
7013
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
1
0.00
PHP
0
Details
Gary-Ross Pastrana
Quarry 20
2021
7014
2
collage (acrylic paint on paper mounted on board)
10h x 8w in • 25.40h x 20.32w cm (unframed) 24h x 24w in • 60.96h x 60.96w cm (framed)
0
0.00
PHP
0
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Video

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