Max Balatbat – “Architectural Abstraction”
by Jennifer Bichara
Locating his own authentic vein and genuine self as an artist, Max Balatbat combines his education and art where he incorporates principles of architectural design in all his compositions.
Some of which resemble maps, strips of wallpaper, floor plans or perspective drawings. He shows beguiling elements of different structures.
Unassuming labyrinthine subjects like shanties and rugged abandoned buildings, Balatbat’s canvases are kaleidoscopes of happy shapes and colors.
Sprawling geometric landscapes mapped out in perforated grids and abstract patterns.
The technique of abstraction in architecture is a tricky one requiring the artist to negotiate temperance and spontaneity in equal measure.
His flat and three-dimensional art pieces are a patchwork that projects.
His structures are a standout of resolution of disorder traversing lines that weave in, out and through many visual planes that allow the viewer to discover many focal points.
Having an appeal to personal memory and other latent sentimentalities and emotional moorings, his works reflect his own life and growth as man and an artist.
He relates these compositions to ephemeral and enduring encounters of emotions, consciousness, of collectivity rich in metaphor and emotive content.
His compositions depictions of visceral and narratives of the personal and communal both real and conjured are locations which provide the muse for creative engagement.
Balatbat’s art akin to symbolic squatting, a metaphorical re-occupation of remembered spaces and structures where he demonstrates art’s potential to contest and reconstruct space, memory and identity allowing us to imagine alternative, helpful visions of ourselves.
Maximino Balatbat II also known as Maxbal was born in 1978 in Caloocan City.
Being a son to an architect, he explains his natural affinity to the world of art.
His early creative formation took inspiration from the international cabaret, a brothel in Caloocan’s red light district where he spent an unusual younger years in the company of prostitutes and rug rats like him.
His younger years of brutishness and subtle contradictions became the foundations of him seething commitment to find truth and essential goodness in the derelict, tumult, chaos.
These themes remain the focal point of his oeuvres.
This collection of paintings Max Balatbat’s was part of the FILIPINISM: European Solo Exhibit last 2013.
Max Balatbat solo exhibits in 3 European cities as Philippine representative to MOYA-Museum of Young Art” Global Art Annuale 2013″ in Vienna, Austria; Chelsea Gallery in London, UK; and returning back again to Florence where he won as the only Asian in 7th Florence Biennale 2009, bringing home the El Lorenzo Magnifico Silver Award and exhibited again his artworks “Bahay Bahayan” at Palazzo Medici Museum.