MIRAGES by Allan Balisi

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Allan Balisi's "Mirages" at SLab Gallery features large format monochromatic paintings of jarring lyrical images cinematic in their aplomb suspense that explore the phantasmagoria of uncertain meaning melancholic over fictional ends.

The paintings: A man looks perplexed over a book with blank pages. He is permeated with a foreboding existential horror creeping into the core of his beliefs that maybe there is only nothing. A woman sits by the bedside with a gesture that she is talking over the phone, and yet this is uncertain because the picture seems incomplete with certain details blurred beyond recognition. She becomes literally a mirage that parallels the fictional capacity of picture making to embellish reality. A piece of cloth fluttering in the wind reaches the height of the moment when it touches the peak of the mountain, apparently, making a shape that resemble the much rigid bigger mass. A visual pun connecting two seemingly similar forms but each having different content, paradoxical but true, that resembles the flattened reality of painting. A group of young men are jubilant in their celebration of the next. The word "end' hangs above their heads, creating ambivalent connections of what the picture could mean in terms of finality, which also opens it up to various fictive possibilities.

The culture of copies does bring many questions pertaining to the nature of how we perceive and interpret reality. From painting's standpoint, some things can be taken out, or maximized to effect, without losing grip of reality held by outward impressions, but allowing the mind to take control of the interpretation of reality as opposed to relinquishing it over to what the eye can normally see. Allan Balisi manipulates the picture deftly like a narrator who tests the limits of our attention, to challenge our notions of reality, that is, if we can still believe what we see, given the fact that all things appear normal. Perhaps this is still what makes painting credible, not so much because of its capacity to create an illusion, but rather, with the way it can transform semblances of the real into replicas with a negative aura - the other that would critique the actual. Reorganization, repetition, revision, and patterning of internal components are characteristics of a language that can make familiar utterances into a unique individual style. This idiosyncratic stylization becomes essential especially within a practice such as painting that through time has become compacted with various modes of expression, which in itself makes it such a unique language different from other mediums of representation. Resemblances have become mere appearances, like the real that repeats itself everyday without alteration of our cognition of it and yet life essentially is different from day to day depending on how we live it, in how we use it to each of our own purpose. Allan Balisi's works had shown us that through a touch of ironic humor, mystery, poetic reflection, and melancholic introspection, that the language of painting facilitates critical attention more than its mere appearance.

Mirages by ALLAN BALISI opens on 10 January 2013 simultaneously with Conversation 17 by CORINNE DE SAN JOSE & Site of Marks by ERIC ZAMUCO. All shows run until 9 February 2013 at Silverlens at 2/F YMC Bldg., II, 2320 Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati. For inquiries call 816-0044, 0917-587-4011 or email

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