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How nature inspires multiple forms of art

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“WE always hope to bring something new to the art scene,” declared Nestor O. Jardin, curator of Conrad Manila’s “Of Art and Wine”series of art exhibits, now on its 30th iteration.

“I know the art styles of Ross Capili and Rico Lascano very well, so I put together a concept that would harmonize them. They are very different, but their communality is the subject matter: how to deal with nature.”

Mr. Capili’s complex mixed media designs depict the rhythm of rain and wind and the vibrant crescendo of colors in bloom. Meanwhile, Mr. Lascano’s minimalist paintings perceive nature as serene and tranquil, inviting viewers to reflect and ponder.

By staging “Interchange,” their ongoing exhibition at Conrad Manila, their contrasting styles converge to convey a sense of wonder inspired by nature. “This is actually my third stint here at Gallery C for the Of Art and Wine series. It’s an experience, putting up a show here, and I always feel that it’s an honor to do so,” said Mr. Capili in his opening speech.

At the launch on May 28, he detailed the amount of planning that went into presenting the two sets of work in a cohesive exhibit, from how they hung on the wall to the way their art was spaced from each other.

He added that appreciating nature is not the only thing one can get from their works, however.

“You can enjoy our paintings, sure. But I am also inviting you to look closely and be disturbed, especially with how we treat nature now,” Mr. Capili said.

His works New Earth Moon and New Earth Sun, for example, show an explosion of acrylic colors on canvas. The colorful brushstrokes of flowers, oceans, and mountains are centered by a stainless sphere — a different color for each work, some black and some gold.

Another take on the dynamism of nature is the Night Sky Tatoo series that depicts butterflies amid leaves, again centered by a silvery or golden orb.

“Nature is something you can’t ignore. You have to respect it,” said Mr. Capili.

For Mr. Lascano, it is best to conceive of nature through the lens of Zen Buddhism, a philosophy he was drawn to even in his early days as an art student.

“I gravitate towards minimalism. I aim for my works to be calming, so as much as possible I remove all unnecessary elements to arrive at a contemplative space,” he said.

His works Quietude I and Quietude II show this perfectly. Acrylic waves of white or blue are etched gently on paper, forming abstract images of the ocean or of mountains.

“It’s like three stages of emptying yourself. The world is chaotic. I want to remove all the stresses of life when I paint. That’s how I arrived at this work,” said Mr. Lascano.

“Of Art and Wine: Interchange” is on view at Gallery C of Conrad Manila until Aug. 3. — Brontë H. Lacsamana

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