Vincent Padilla’s encounter with time past
(The Philippine Star) - September 28, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Vincent Padilla explores emotional and psychological connections with old photographs — and transformed his own canvases as a concealed camera — in “They Were Among Us,” which is on view until Oct. 9 at Galerie Anna, fourth floor, the Artwalk Bldg., SM Megamall A, Mandaluyong City.

Padilla focuses his lens, as it were, on notable historical figures, mostly public personalities in the arts and politics, so famous that streets and avenues are named after them. Plucked from the pages of history, they deliberately lose their time-line distance and detachment from us even as we relish our own connection with our sense of history, where the past participates in the present. ?The artist in Padilla ties him to such luminaries as Fernando Amorsolo and Guillermo Tolentino montaged together, the pioneer professors of the Escuela de Bellas Artes (among them, Vicente Rivera y Mir, Miguel Zaragosa, Teodoro Buenaventura and Dean Rafael Enriquez), and in one iconic photograph, Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo with Dr. Jose Rizal. History as hero-worship is accountably evident in these works.?Padilla has maintained his characteristic layering of manuscript writing in reverse across the pictorial space, serving much like a subtle running filmic music in these visual discourses with history. And as the manuscripts are hardly legible, teasingly puzzling and painstakingly handwritten, they seem like forerunners of the contemporary practice of merging words and images.?Other notable historical figures assert their presence: President Manuel Quezon panning for gold, Rafael Palma leading the members of the Philippine Independence Mission all wrapped in heavy winter overcoat; William H. Taft presiding over the Philippine Assembly (where Padilla has brazenly interposed himself in the scene, painting the proceedings) and the bandolero-hero Macario Sakay in long tresses with his band of brigands.?The viewer may construe that history may vanish upon the destruction of these photographs, paper being so perishable, for only photographs may prove the existence of a past reality.?Padilla proffers his paintings not merely as a more stable medium of recording the past, the act itself being a reproach to photography, but as a timeless instrument created by man and not by machine.?For inquiries, call 470-9869.

ACIRC ARTWALK BLDG BELLAS ARTES DR. JOSE RIZAL FERNANDO AMORSOLO AND GUILLERMO TOLENTINO GALERIE ANNA JUAN LUNA AND FELIX RESURRECCION HIDALGO MACARIO SAKAY MANDALUYONG CITY MEGAMALL A PADILLA
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