Aris Bagtas “Distinctly Filipino”
by Jennifer Bichara
Aris Bagtas’ neo-realism style is reflected in the way he uses what he calls “traditional subjects” while painting them using contemporary methods. Bagtas’ believes that where you come from and your culture can be put in canvas. Other compelling elements are also in the painting’s details (like patterns of a traditional Filipino daster, durian, and tuna). Other than Philippine festivals, love, faith and family are also highlighted.
Bagtas’ belongs to the Filipinism art movement. In which, the artist aims to show the real identity of being a Filipino with motifs and compositions that are more attuned to cultural sensibilities.
A gifted artist who already made numerous exhibits under his name and continuous to showcase his masterpiece, not just in the Philippines but also abroad.
His works are best described as folk, religious and abstract arts and distinctively Filipino. In this collection, Bagtas’ paintings allow us to live within that moment to inspire us to create a country where family values, traits & traditions are not forgotten.
Bagtas’ family series depicts a typical Filipino family as a strong basic unit.
Bonding time is a representation of the art curator, Jason Macuha’s family going to the beach. The artwork is a commission work of his family building a sand castle.
While the Father & Son bonding together over fishing is a birthday gift by the artist last October 2014.
Good luck charm
The “Prosperity Rings” series portrays bringing blessings in one’s life. The rings are an inscription with the belief of good luck. It is an auspicious desire for such as good luck, good fortune, and good health, success in life or business.
Good luck “Prosperity rings” is an intuitive abstract work. In painting, you need a bit of planning, but it is also need to leave some space for surprises and your intuition. The artist focuses on the elements of visual language – line, shape, colour, texture, pattern, value, etc.
Bagtas’ have been depicting works that are authentic. With brush strokes that are spontaneous emotion experienced in colorful, abstract ways finding beauty and satisfaction in that which is genuine and yet, imperfect work of art.
The Landscape of His Childhood
“Komunidad ni Estong” is an abstraction of the town where the artist grew up. The local place of his childhood were made of shanties. These settlements consist of small houses or shacks made of tin, wood and other scrap material. The artist is inspired by real life experiences of struggle, hardship & endurance to do great in life.
Resiliency amidst life’s difficulties and trials
Architectural abstract is an abstract building painting by Bagtas’. The mix dominating primary colors on the painting create a powerful scene where geometry of the building stands strong in tested times.
Among the most admirable of the Filipino family traits is its resiliency. Resiliency is the ability to smile and laugh, to be full of humor, despite the disappointments, hardships and unfortunate circumstances. Resiliency is the characteristics that have carried the Filipino family through the thick and thin of bond in its everyday life.
Hope for a better life
Today, it is customary for Filipinos to throw coins in fountains to make wishes come true. The painting signifies a wish in life for Filipinos filled with health, happiness and love. Have all the joy the heart can hold. All the smiles a day can bring and all the blessings a life can unfold. May they get the best in everything, wishing their family a happy and prosperous life ahead.
Manifesting the power of dance
The inspiration of this art was the Powerdance dancers of Douglas Nieras known as the Philippines’ premier company in modern, jazz, and show dance. Douglas Nierras Powerdance is a contemporary dance company formed in 1988 with the vision of teaching, performing, and sharing the art of dance.
We dance to survive, and the beat offers a yellow brick road. Help us make through the chaos that is the tempo of our times. We dance to shed skins. Tear off masks, crack molds, and experience the breakdown shattering of borders between body, heart and mind.
Each of us is a moving center, a space of divine mystery and though we spend most of our time on the surface. In the daily details of ordinary existence, most of us hunger to connect to this space within. Break through to bliss into something bigger than us.
THE RARE COLLECTIONS:
The female body
Another of the artist’s series, the “Nude Series” pastel on paper is a rare collection as he seldom done nude portraits because it is in contrast with the image he is portraying.
His works mostly feature beautiful vivid colors and metallic luster which mostly pictures about his mother and his wife, “Esperanza.” His chosen familiar subjects are fishermen, the market and flower vendors but never nudes.
Aris Bagtas’ “Nude in Yellow” drew the pastel during a nude on-the-spot contest at Kunst Gallery in Santa Rita, Batangas.
UNDERWATER ACRYLIC SERIES
Peace and calmness
One of the rare collections of Mr. Macuha includes the “Underwater Series 1-2.” His beautiful series of paintings brings peace and calmness to any room. This is part of a series of paintings that does not show the side of Aris, his love of the seas.
In spite of his fame and recognition, Bagtas’ remained a steadfast loyal and devoted son of Obando, Bulacan – a province populated by faithful followers of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s powerful intercession from which he draws inspiration to his roots.
Bagtas’ is a man who is spiritually guided, very evident characteristics which he mostly shares in his artworks. As a visual artist, his paintings evolve from the fertile vision of the Passions of Christ and into the realms of local churches with his murals.
Bagtas’ depicts saints and the Virgin Mary in acrylic, gold leaf, icon work or sketches all created with the same faith and wild abandon being a servant of God with paint and brushes as his tool for salvation.
The artist paints religious themes as it is his ultimate tribute and thanksgiving to his creator where he shows people doing ordinary activities with their faces directed towards heaven giving thanks and recognizing the power of God in their lives.
Hope it stands
The painting stands for the beauty of a building you should look at. You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure. It’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.
All life demands struggle. The striving and hard work that we so try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.
Bagtas’ condo series is the relationship between human beings and hope.
Useful and beautiful
A functional artwork is a work that serves us in some fashion. It is an art piece designed or developed from the point of view of use but then given the spirit, so that it takes on a life of its own while serving us.
The chairs and table are two functional works done by Aris Bagtas. It was part of the functional art series during the exhibit “Lumang Bagay Bagong Buhay.”
ESPERANZA as HIS MUSE
Throughout history, artists have been inspired by the presence of certain other people in their lives that motivated them to create their masterpiece. The source of inspiration could be a man, a woman, or even their pet.
Taking precedence in his continuing journey through life and art, his personal and artistic persona radiates to “Esperanza” his wife as the perfect muse for a Filipina.
Bagtas’ recent “Esperanza” series reiterates the subtle power of a Filipina in various portrayals as elemental queens such as air, water, metal, nature, or gemstones.”