Arts and Culture

A tête-à-tête with the masters

Angela Singian - The Philippine Star
A tête-à-tête with the masters
Phyliss Zaballero, “Pierre et Moi #2, La Lampe” (2015, mixed media on canvas).

MANILA, Philippines — In Phyllis Zaballero’s latest exhibit, “Conversations with My Masters,” a living artist speaks to the spirit of a long-gone and legendary occupant of a familial mausoleum located in the Cimetière de Montmartre of Paris, France. Her captive audience of one is Edgar Degas, whose body is entombed there with the rest of the De Gas clan.

But there’s a rub. Zaballero wants to get into the act. She wants to conduct an artistic dialogue between the two of them. Could they have an intimate conversation between pigment and brush?

With his psychic permission, Zaballero takes us on her conversational foray through the paintings of Degas, Pierre Bonard and Henri Matisse. These iconic paintings pull us into private rooms, intimately as voyeurs of his ladies busy at their toilettes in “Se Baignant” and “Le Bain,” the instantly recognizable ballerinas go through their exercises in “Le Foyer de la Danse,” and the perspectives further layer and tilt in “L’Opera de Paris,” appropriately painted in performance splendor.

Zaballero grew up in the US (residing near the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as a child in the 1950s) and then lived around Europe for her father's health, till returning to Manila upon his death. She finished university in Spain (Associate in Arts diploma) and completed both painting and economics studies in UP (at separate times) and settled down to family life in Manila during martial law, but painting still beckoned.

Her latest exhibit “Conversations with My Masters,” done during recent pandemic times, seems to be more measured and languid, although ever deeply reflective, while expressing a new analytical point of view — carrying the spirit of homage to her favorite painters’ legacies.

“Pierre et Moi #5, La Table” (2015)

* * *

“Conversations with My Masters” runs until Jan. 25, 2022 at Galleria Duemila, 210 Loring St. 1300 Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Email: [email protected] Explore Virtual Exhibition at: https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/8640715/conversations-with-my-masters.

“Pierre et Moi #1, Se Baignant” (2019).


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with