Paris Green (also known as emerald green): the arsenic-containing pigment

was initiated in Europe in the early 19th century. Impressionist and post-impressionist painters used different versions of the pigment to create their vivid masterpieces. This means that many museum pieces today contain the poison.

Read the articles here:

Arsenic pigment can cause serious health problems and death

Review: Forget sexy. Eric Fischl paints the dark dramas amid all that skin – Los Angeles Times

The scantily clad bodies in Eric Fischl’s paintings at the L.A. gallery Sprüth Magers seem so sunny and appealing. But take a closer look.
— Read on

Nothing is innocent in Fischl’s images. People pose. People preen. Naked protagonists bend their limbs and contort their torsos as if their goal is to press as much flesh as they can against the picture plane — up close but hardly personal.

The Naked Truth


One morning, while Truth skinny-dipped,
Old Falsehood found where she had stripped.
That liar stole her royal robe
And strutted in it round the globe.

But Truth was pure and would not wear
The rags that Falsehood left her there.
From that day onward she went bare,
Clad only in the sun and air.

Exposing all to all she greets,
Who fall for falsely dressed deceits,
The Naked Truth with glory gleams,
Dispelling Falsehood’s charming schemes.

Although its wrap looks safe and sound,
Not all that seems is truly bound.
The garb of Truth can fool the wise,
When it is worn as a disguise.

But morning doesn’t fight with night.
It simply says, “So long!” with light.
Just so, deception from a lie
Must go at Naked Truth’s “Good-bye!”

— David L. Hatton, 9/11/2010
(from Poems Between Birth and Resurrection © 2013)
— Read on

“The Truth and the Lie meet one day. The Lie says to the Truth: “It’s a marvelous day today!” The Truth looks up to the skies and sighs, for the day was really beautiful. They spend a lot of time together, ultimately arriving beside a well. The Lie tells the Truth: “The water is very nice, let’s take a bath together!” The Truth, once again suspicious, tests the water and discovers that it indeed is very nice. They undress and start bathing. Suddenly, the Lie comes out of the water, puts on the clothes of the Truth and runs away. The furious Truth comes out of the well and runs everywhere to find the Lie and to get her clothes back. The World, seeing the Truth naked, turns its gaze away, with contempt and rage.

The poor Truth returns to the well and disappears forever, hiding therein, its shame. Since then, the Lie travels around the world, dressed as the Truth, satisfying the needs of society, because, the World, in any case, harbours no wish at all to meet the naked Truth”


“The Truth Coming out of the Well” (La Vérité sortant du puits armée de son martinet pour châtier l’humanité )

Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1896

Dimensions: 91 cm × 72 cm (36 in × 28 in)

Musée Anne de Beaujeu, Moulins, Allier

3,900 Pages of Paul Klee’s Personal Notebooks Are Now Online, Presenting His Bauhaus Teachings (1921-1931) | Open Culture

Paul Klee led an artistic life that spanned the 19th and 20th centuries, but he kept his aesthetic sensibility tuned to the future. Because of that, much of the Swiss-German Bauhaus-associated painter’s work, which at its most distinctive defines its own category of abstraction, still exudes a vitality today.

And he left behind not just those 9,000 pieces of art (not counting the hand puppets he made for his son), but plenty of writings as well, the best known of which came out in English as Paul Klee Notebooks, two volumes (The Thinking Eye and The Nature of Nature) collecting the artist’s essays on modern art and the lectures he gave at the Bauhaus schools in the 1920s.

“These works are considered so important for understanding modern art that they are compared to the importance that Leonardo’s A Treatise on Painting had for Renaissance,” says Monoskop. Their description also quotes critic Herbert Read, who described the books as  “the most complete presentation of the principles of design ever made by a modern artist – it constitutes the Principia Aesthetica of a new era of art, in which Klee occupies a position comparable to Newton’s in the realm of physics.”

More recently, the Zentrum Paul Klee made available online almost all 3,900 pages of Klee’s personal notebooks, which he used as the source for his Bauhaus teaching between 1921 and 1931. If you can’t read German, his extensively detailed textual theorizing on the mechanics of art (especially the use of color, with which he struggled before returning from a 1914 trip to Tunisia declaring, “Color and I are one. I am a painter”) may not immediately resonate with you. But his copious illustrations of all these observations and principles, in their vividness, clarity, and reflection of a truly active mind, can still captivate anybody  — just as his paintings do.

— Read on

T-shirts for fund raising campaign

Donation campaign (specifically for food, kitchen utensils, and personal hygiene items for women and men) to help the 61 Teduray families from Sitio Makun, Barangay Limpongo, Datu Hoffer, Maguindanao displaced by attacks armed groups. HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE! For every purchase of a shirt (form January- March 2018) you contribute to the relief operations…

via T-shirts for fund raising campaign —

Not art, just stuff on my bed

I’ve been obsessing on those studyblr, gradblr posts on Tumblr for quite some time now. Well, even before studyblr was invented, there was that thing called journal writing. Oh yeah, then came bullet journaling. But this is on a different level, my friends. Studyblr actually an attempt at studying. Let’s just say it’s an approach at studying. The first step in studying is getting into the mood to study. So you buy nice and expensive school supplies — the whole set of highlights, and the highly recommended Muji notebooks’ smooth paper that matches perfectly with those equally expensive Muji gel pens where they glide easily on. Next, you download study playlists, and a pomodoro app to keep cool and study on. Then the actual studying begins. You read your readings and make notes. You color code passages that you think needs highlighting. I use all six colors, though sometimes I do not strictly follow my color code rule. It’s just pretty to see the pages suddenly become more colorful and thus more cheerful. You also use different colors for your notes, for example, bright pink for headings, dark green for names and dates, orange for comments and questions, and blue for actual notes. Of course, you’re free to put add-ons like drawings of swirls and twines, flowers, leaves and smiling swines. But I found stickers to be much easier to do and neater to look at. And suddenly, I’m back in time to when I was in first grade! Who says studying makes you grow old and weary?!

Anyway, as you can see in this picture, it just shows my failed attempt at contributing to the study motivation project. It’s just humiliating. This photo of my stuff is no way going to motivate anyone. Should I put a hashtag no filter? Well, I don’t do selfies either. I tried before, but my face looks better behind the camera.

This post is just me procrastinating. So don’t take this seriously. (Except for the recommended school supplies, I swear you’d love them.)

PS. If you’re wondering what that colorful tapes are for, I use it to tag book pages. I write on those tapes instead on the book itself. It’s easier and cleaner to just remove the tape than using correction tape or fluid in case I make mistakes. It also saves me the embarrassment of lending the book to someone and find my notes stupid and handwriting ugly.

The Covenant Monument: A Representation of Nature, Unity and Renewal

The Covenant Monument: A Representation of Nature, Unity and Renewal

The Covenant Monument, by Professor Emeritus Nestor Vinluan, was erected in 2016 within the grounds of Quezon Hall in the University of the Philippines. Etched on its plaque is its reason for being: as a symbolism of the covenant of leaders and citizens with the nation and the world for renewal, unity, peace, and prosperity.

The Covenant occupies the space beside Quezon Hall. Nearby edifices are the College of Music, the Film Center, the UP Theatre, the Carillon, the Ampitheater, and the College of Mass Communication. It is accessible and visible from the street fronting the College of Music. As you traverse the concrete street towards the grass covered earth and into its space among the trees and bushes, you can see spheres strategically placed to depict the colors and flag of the Philippine nation — three spheres: one in red, one in blue, and the other as the sun is in yellow; and three white crossed circular forms to represent the stars. As these forms define and mark the space of the nation, the experience of reality and awareness of spatiality however becomes transforming the moment you walk inwards. Once inside, you enter the space of the transcendental, an abstraction of reality as we know it.

The use of abstraction in The Covenant to depict reality of the natural world —the elements of water, earth, and sky — are in the shape of biomorphic forms and lines such as the spheres and wavy lines. Art historian Ruben Cañete wrote in article that the sphere and mandala have been the recurring themes used by Prof. Vinluan since the 1970s. He has used biomorphic forms to allude to the natural world, and geometric forms to allude to the metaphysics and the mystical. But here, in The Covenant, Prof. Vinluan has achieved a unity of the biomorphic forms with the purposiveness of the mandala, but without the mandala’s clear borders and sharp lines.

From the base, which is reminiscent of the flow of water spiraling downstream towards the earth, you walk up towards the highest level, and inwards to the center of what seems to be Vinluan’s re-presentation of the sphere, a somewhat layering of white spherical form that depict either sky or earth, or maybe energy or an aura in motion that is resonating, reverberating, radiating, expanding outwards. The sphere is opened quadrantal to expose its inner core. By standing at the center, it gives you a feeling of ambivalence of both seclusion and exposition, of calmness and awakening. The four quadrants loom high enough, extending from the ground and its base to almost 8 feet tall, placed at certain angles which conceal you, as if protecting you from the outside world. While at the same time, the re-presentation of the sphere as an opened form has allowed access of view from the inside looking outward, and vise versa which exposes you from the gaze of the outsider and yet exposing the outsider from your gaze as well. As for the feeling of calmness and awakening, could it be because of the whiteness of the quadrants that reflects light stimulating sight and awakening, making things visible; and calmness because of their relative dimension that speak of stability, fixedness and constancy?

The Covenant has invited, even gravitated, people to a place maybe as a rendezvous, a place for conversation or for play. It is also maybe used to momentarily escape from the everyday, or maybe to frolic either alone, with a friend, as a couple or as lovers, or as a group or family. Sometimes, group of students would hold meetings inside the opened sphere. Most times, there would be children frolicking, playing tag or hide and seek, while their parents or guardians watch them, taking selfies and simply enjoy sitting under its shade. The space is almost always never without a mortal creature, even at night when darkness befall its surroundings. It has itself remained well-lighted, as well as the street, and provides flaneurs with benches to lounge and whilst away time. Being erected amidst the trees and breeze of natural air, the Covenant has given the people a public space and an opportunity to immerse in one’s own thoughts or with the company of others while experiencing nature — to be outside and to once again be enchanted, be awoken, and to find our place in the cosmos — an experience that many may find wanting in the urban jungle.

The Covenant also seems to entreat us to re-examine our perception and our senses; to renew our experience sensorially especially now in our contemporary society where we are being bombarded with a multitude of stimuli that dulls our senses. As Susan Sontag says, “What is important now is to recover our senses. We must learn to see more, to hear more, to feel more.” And what better place could there be to escape the noisy, vacuous, faux-stimulus of the digital world but outside with nature? And what better way of conversation could there be but an actual, physical, live, face-to-face communication and interaction with others and with nature? With that reflection, Vinluan, through The Covenant, succeeded in conveying his vision on unity and renewal, and to an extent even an experience of the divinity. As the Convenant Monument gravitates people to itself, it has harnessed its energy to promote harmony and goodness that steep, percolate, and perfuse in nature and humanity; and, a sense of wholeness, comfort, fulfillment, hope and peace that we can find from within our “self”, and amongst us as a nation, with the world, and with nature.

Explorations of the Flesh, Psyche and Spirit at the Yavuz Gallery

Explorations of the Flesh, Psyche and Spirit at the Yavuz Gallery

During the Art Fair Philippines 2018, Singapose-based Yavuz Gallery showcased works by young artists from various countries in the Southeast region. The selected artists were: Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew (Thailand), Winner Jumalon (Philippines), Yeo Kaa (Philippines), Soe Yu New (Myanmar), Johanna Helmuth (Philippines), Dharma Bum, Yani Unsana (Philippines). Looking at the displayed works, one can’t help but seek a theme. Here, it seems that the exhibit proposed different perspectives, depictions, and rendering of the flesh, psyche and spirit by presenting a selection of works that use different possible execution of forms and materials ranging from traditional oil paintings to works that use unusual objects such as tulle and faux bling.

Memory and Transformation (2015) by Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew

Thai artist Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew’s four works, all encased in glass, were on display: Absent-Minded No.1 (2017) and Absent-Minded No. 2 (2017) are two separate portraits of a child; Moment of Hope No.1 is a portrait of a woman (2017); and Memory and Transformation (2015) portrays a woman sitting on a desk. Nimmalaikaew uses two separate layers of dark tulles or dark sheer fabrics where the images are painted on to produce three dimensional, almost holographic and ghostly art works. As you investigate the image in each of his works by shifting angles and position either by walking across or back and forth, the stoic image gradually, subtly, and hauntingly comes to life. The suffering brought about by the death of a loved one can be beleaguering, making us question one’s rationality. It can put you in a dark corner of interminable melancholy, in a disconsolate and perpetual nostalgia. You seek to remember the past and long to grasp memories. Sometimes, you can evoke images of the past, images from memory by closing your eyes It is in this darkness of remembering can one see memory and in opening your eyes can you feel absence.


Winner Jumalon
Winner Jumalon

Winner Jumalon’s four large works in oil on canvass are juxtaposition of images of undressed males and females, some positioned to expose the genitals, even suggesting some figures are in the act of coitus. Strewn among the human figures are fragments of petals, twigs, a skeleton of an arm, a dismembered leg, etc. In one of his large paintings, is a skull of a ram with horns intact. The ram skull, which is also seen in his other smaller work Encuentro (2016), insinuates meaning maybe in Freudian or biblical terms. By means of defacing his works, by drawing over the images with jagged lines, scratching out the paint, by blotching and smudging, Jumalon creates an unsettling articulation on the human flesh and its performance as sexual beings. This gesture could also be a re-action as a means to obscure, conceal, repress, or maybe show confusion. However, these maybe are statements, and not attempts to conceal or obscure because he does not even spare us the occasion to approximate the imaginable. Instead he gives us raw and unconcealed view of otherwise hidden acts. There is no romanticizing of the sexual act in Jumalon’s pieces; and not also pornographic renditions of the human flesh. Instead what we can read are only sharp, scathing and sardonic statements on the libidinal as a component of human life.


by Yeo Kaa

Yeo Kaa uses anime, or that cartoon figure popular among youth and children. The larger-than-life, wide-eyed, candy pink anime girl plastic figure and a painting with the same subject are in a state of undress. The hands are in a gesture to signify confusion or uncertainty, while you look at her with the same puzzling pity at the irony in the works Kaa has conveyed. The sexualization of children in cartoon, especially in Japanese anime or manga is most prevalent nowadays. Graphic novels, cartoon on television and online are easily accessible even to children, where many would read and see characters, especially young female characters, drawn provocatively: the skirt fips, panty shots, etc.. Here, Kaa strips the character naked and appears to be asking what the viewers might have think now that they see her in a vulnerable state of nakedness. But it seems many of the viewers have not taken notice of her nakedness. Instead they pose and smile beside her to take selfies…and most surely they will post online the selfies they took with this naked and confused, cotton pink anime girl.

Blue Boy by Dharma Bum

Aside from the ghostly images, depiction of repression, confusion, and bewilderment in the sample works stated above, the mixed media work entitled Blue Boy (2017) by Dharma Bum, in contrast offers a sense of positivity and light. At the center of Bum’s work is a figure in the vrikshasana (tree pose, hands in namaste) yoga position. The whole figure is fully studded, brimming and shimmering with sequins, beads and faux bling, that seems to be in the path to enlightenment, an appearance of experiencing spiritual knowledge. But on the other hand, because of the faux bling, sequins and beads, as these materials that are meant to enhance or intensify quality to the work seems to have been overly done. This could connote a statement on the practice of an East Asian tradition gone morally depraved, corrupted by entrepreneurs. Dharma Bum seems to question the authenticity of one’s experience of the yoga exercise in the context of vast commodification of a spiritual experience.

The array of issues pertaining to the flesh and psyche in the works at the Yavuz Gallery demonstrates the complexity humans face with their reality. The questioning of the aesthetics of the flesh, where underneath the constrictions and constructions of the human body, bodily responses and reason, comes to a point when artists see the need to confound ineffable issues such as sex, sexualization, death and spirituality. The exhibit has shown how artists articulate the intricacies of human emotions, reason and psychology, the taboo on sexuality, sexualization of children, commodification and abuse of the body and spirituality — these issues that society seldom place in public discourse due to fear, rejection, ignorance, or shame.