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Mugna Art Gallery is a platform dedicated to promoting local culture and fostering creativity through supporting emerging and undiscovered artists, offering a space for artistic expression and interaction with the community and wider audiences.

June 8 - July 7, 2024

Everything Is Moving Around Me

Ged Unson Merino
Mugna Gallery
Valencia, Negros Oriental, Philippines

About

Everything is moving around me
an exhibition by Ged Merino
related to by Siddharta Perez

Ged Merino stations himself as an axis to which a world pulsates regardless. “Everything is moving around me,” the title a saying that tugs from being merely an observer towards a state of heightened immersion. Things are vivid from this position, saturated in high contrast.

Here in Mugna, a series of silkscreened fabrics overlaid with patches and stitching are pictorial accounts of locating oneself in colorful landscapes so immersive that they soak into abstraction. While the images register forms of natural landscapes, by the fact that they are captured by the artist with photography first, the landscape is a psychical one too. The textual stitchings confirm a certain subjectivity that places Merino’s cartographic gesture of a vibrating environment as a mind attuned to the atomic motion of what is external to the mental sphere. The rotation between the inside (cognitive, psyche) and the outside (the world) also plays out in Merino’s kulambo installation. In the distinct moment of discovering the mundane, we recognise ourselves.

Ged Merino, born and studied in Manila, works with various materials. His development into practice is remarkably driven by a migratory circuit of settling into different localities: New York and Bogota along frequent contact with Manila… The first stitch with New York in the ‘80s was related to his initial inspiration with printmaking. In retrospect, a mentor opened his eyes to the potential of image-making – at this time he concentrated on the techniques of collagraphs and the regional exhibition trajectories were open for collective surveys representing fresh talent and peer groups. Emerging from the flat pictorial frame owed to a artistic period propelled by a necessity of re-sourcing: objects of a 3D nature, repurposed, offered themselves as subject and matter to Merino. The urgency to make surpassed the limitation of having to purchase store-bought materials. Initially taking from Merino’s personal miscellany, the use of pre-owned and discarded things led him to link to networks with surplus – factories, groups of craft collectives. Placemaking for Merino prompts him further for mutual exchange – besides the circulation of objects, he extends a social mesh of cooperatives through Bliss on Bliss Art Projects in New York and Maleza Proyectos in Bogota. His textile-centered approach is a weave of autobiographical aspects from domestic memory to succeeding passages in places where a blank state didn’t exactly yield to a cache of fresh things. This way, fabric and thread accompanied Merino; they embrace residues of his exterior and cognitive spaces as he accesses them distinctly (here and there) then simultaneously (together). Where he doesn’t wrap, he overlays with collage. Rendering flat planes three-dimensionally, in print and in stitch, the artist impresses the continuum of his stake in the images of worlds he moves between.

Coming from a vulnerable exposition of grief – “The saddest song is the one you cannot sing” (February 2023), Merino unravels another dynamic playing out in this human condition through the works in his solo show in Mugna, “Everything is moving around me.” These exhibitions may seem to follow a plot. In “The saddest song…” the artist opens up on the loss of his long-time companion, basset hound Barnaby – tributary in one end to his collaborator while highlighting Barnaby’s contribution to their joint tending to of the lushness surrounding the pandemic lockdown in Bogota. As always, Merino captures these rich occasions. The abyss of separation is also teeming with foliage. On one hand, “Everything is moving around me” gets a grip on this reconciliation. On the other, the proliferation of the artist’s works resonates an integrated experience. The continuum of life after death is clear. And yet loss and fecundity is concurrent, not exactly causal. The dark background of the psyche sanctions the shine in everything else. It is from this space that “Everything is moving around me” comes from: there is colour with sadness, abundance in sarcity.

Recharge. Rejuvenate. Recreate. Resuscitate. Regenerate. These texts are stitched as notations in Merino’s fabric works, perhaps as instructions, but more likely a testament of the perennial moments of awareness. They archive actions within the conceptual sphere of the artist’s thinking around the mother verb “re-volution:” a pivot that encompasses any other motion while being exemplary. The prefix re-, denotes acting once more, again, repetition per se; as well as to act back, return per se. Merino’s glossary of change admits that the charge has always been present, that the touch of creation is everywhere; and that to orient back in reciprocation is radical. By this sense the artist returns to images of the world he has taken during the pandemic. Instead of taking these photographs apart, he intervenes with a rejuvenated visualisation that mirrors the shift in his paradigm relating to the circumstances of that time. The verdant was thriving, lusher then the tone afforded to it by urbanity, stark as it was left undisturbed by the mechanism of the city. Patches with paintwork also interrupt the images that would otherwise be flat in their initial documentative status. Here, the artist plants his testimony: I was here, and I am here again. It is the same overgrowth that Merino walks on, only that he marks and stitches the change.

To move into symbolism, the kulambo indexes a temporary site of security. Boundaried, the kulambo negotiates one’s place in the environment. Promising protection against active elements, it is also permeable. Merino shows us a softer mode of returning to memory as a wild landscape. The artist introduces his current inquiry into the mosquito net – thinking through veiled histories, and how safeguarding can likewise fall into forgetting. For this iteration the kulambo is encircled with a crocheted vine, highlighting the bounds of this near-translucent material. Fabric and textile, net receiving yarn, draw the edges of the openings essential to the material and manifesting the interplay of the exterior and interior within an atmosphere. Surely, this modular respite delineates specific spaces. Yet it also materializes a mutual looking: what looks out is also being looked at. Perhaps the distinction between the psyche and the environment is actually unified – that the intensity of foliage is conditional to the state of inner life. The psyche is permeable, and the landscape is painted and patched by its projection to one who receives. Everything is moving around me, and what I see, sees me.

Ged Merino

Ged Merino is a Filipino-American mixed-media artist based in New York, USA. He has held solo exhibitions at The Drawing Room Gallery in Makati, The Cultural Center of the Philippines and other international exhibitions and workshops. He was part of the Southeast Asia Platform at Art Stage Singapore in January 2015, and in 2019 was selected for the exhibition “The Hybridity and Dynamism of the Contemporary Art of the Philippines” in Seoul, Korea where he also gave a widely praised workshop as part of the exhibition.

Merino co-founded Bliss on Bliss Art Projects New York in 2011 — which recently opened a space in Bogota, Colombia — with his wife Carolina Morales. The cross-cultural, artist-run space provides a platform for experimentation and presentation of new works for contemporary artists, writers, filmmakers and performers.
Ged Merino is represented in Southeast Asia by The Drawing Room in Makati, Philippines and in Bogota, Colombia by Maleza Proyectos.

Everything is moving around me
an exhibition by Ged Merino
related to by Siddharta Perez

Ged Merino stations himself as an axis to which a world pulsates regardless. “Everything is moving around me,” the title a saying that tugs from being merely an observer towards a state of heightened immersion. Things are vivid from this position, saturated in high contrast.

Here in Mugna, a series of silkscreened fabrics overlaid with patches and stitching are pictorial accounts of locating oneself in colorful landscapes so immersive that they soak into abstraction. While the images register forms of natural landscapes, by the fact that they are captured by the artist with photography first, the landscape is a psychical one too. The textual stitchings confirm a certain subjectivity that places Merino’s cartographic gesture of a vibrating environment as a mind attuned to the atomic motion of what is external to the mental sphere. The rotation between the inside (cognitive, psyche) and the outside (the world) also plays out in Merino’s kulambo installation. In the distinct moment of discovering the mundane, we recognise ourselves.

Ged Merino, born and studied in Manila, works with various materials. His development into practice is remarkably driven by a migratory circuit of settling into different localities: New York and Bogota along frequent contact with Manila… The first stitch with New York in the ‘80s was related to his initial inspiration with printmaking. In retrospect, a mentor opened his eyes to the potential of image-making – at this time he concentrated on the techniques of collagraphs and the regional exhibition trajectories were open for collective surveys representing fresh talent and peer groups. Emerging from the flat pictorial frame owed to a artistic period propelled by a necessity of re-sourcing: objects of a 3D nature, repurposed, offered themselves as subject and matter to Merino. The urgency to make surpassed the limitation of having to purchase store-bought materials. Initially taking from Merino’s personal miscellany, the use of pre-owned and discarded things led him to link to networks with surplus – factories, groups of craft collectives. Placemaking for Merino prompts him further for mutual exchange – besides the circulation of objects, he extends a social mesh of cooperatives through Bliss on Bliss Art Projects in New York and Maleza Proyectos in Bogota. His textile-centered approach is a weave of autobiographical aspects from domestic memory to succeeding passages in places where a blank state didn’t exactly yield to a cache of fresh things. This way, fabric and thread accompanied Merino; they embrace residues of his exterior and cognitive spaces as he accesses them distinctly (here and there) then simultaneously (together). Where he doesn’t wrap, he overlays with collage. Rendering flat planes three-dimensionally, in print and in stitch, the artist impresses the continuum of his stake in the images of worlds he moves between.

Coming from a vulnerable exposition of grief – “The saddest song is the one you cannot sing” (February 2023), Merino unravels another dynamic playing out in this human condition through the works in his solo show in Mugna, “Everything is moving around me.” These exhibitions may seem to follow a plot. In “The saddest song…” the artist opens up on the loss of his long-time companion, basset hound Barnaby – tributary in one end to his collaborator while highlighting Barnaby’s contribution to their joint tending to of the lushness surrounding the pandemic lockdown in Bogota. As always, Merino captures these rich occasions. The abyss of separation is also teeming with foliage. On one hand, “Everything is moving around me” gets a grip on this reconciliation. On the other, the proliferation of the artist’s works resonates an integrated experience. The continuum of life after death is clear. And yet loss and fecundity is concurrent, not exactly causal. The dark background of the psyche sanctions the shine in everything else. It is from this space that “Everything is moving around me” comes from: there is colour with sadness, abundance in sarcity.

Recharge. Rejuvenate. Recreate. Resuscitate. Regenerate. These texts are stitched as notations in Merino’s fabric works, perhaps as instructions, but more likely a testament of the perennial moments of awareness. They archive actions within the conceptual sphere of the artist’s thinking around the mother verb “re-volution:” a pivot that encompasses any other motion while being exemplary. The prefix re-, denotes acting once more, again, repetition per se; as well as to act back, return per se. Merino’s glossary of change admits that the charge has always been present, that the touch of creation is everywhere; and that to orient back in reciprocation is radical. By this sense the artist returns to images of the world he has taken during the pandemic. Instead of taking these photographs apart, he intervenes with a rejuvenated visualisation that mirrors the shift in his paradigm relating to the circumstances of that time. The verdant was thriving, lusher then the tone afforded to it by urbanity, stark as it was left undisturbed by the mechanism of the city. Patches with paintwork also interrupt the images that would otherwise be flat in their initial documentative status. Here, the artist plants his testimony: I was here, and I am here again. It is the same overgrowth that Merino walks on, only that he marks and stitches the change.

To move into symbolism, the kulambo indexes a temporary site of security. Boundaried, the kulambo negotiates one’s place in the environment. Promising protection against active elements, it is also permeable. Merino shows us a softer mode of returning to memory as a wild landscape. The artist introduces his current inquiry into the mosquito net – thinking through veiled histories, and how safeguarding can likewise fall into forgetting. For this iteration the kulambo is encircled with a crocheted vine, highlighting the bounds of this near-translucent material. Fabric and textile, net receiving yarn, draw the edges of the openings essential to the material and manifesting the interplay of the exterior and interior within an atmosphere. Surely, this modular respite delineates specific spaces. Yet it also materializes a mutual looking: what looks out is also being looked at. Perhaps the distinction between the psyche and the environment is actually unified – that the intensity of foliage is conditional to the state of inner life. The psyche is permeable, and the landscape is painted and patched by its projection to one who receives. Everything is moving around me, and what I see, sees me.

Ged Merino

Ged Merino is a Filipino-American mixed-media artist based in New York, USA. He has held solo exhibitions at The Drawing Room Gallery in Makati, The Cultural Center of the Philippines and other international exhibitions and workshops. He was part of the Southeast Asia Platform at Art Stage Singapore in January 2015, and in 2019 was selected for the exhibition “The Hybridity and Dynamism of the Contemporary Art of the Philippines” in Seoul, Korea where he also gave a widely praised workshop as part of the exhibition.

Merino co-founded Bliss on Bliss Art Projects New York in 2011 — which recently opened a space in Bogota, Colombia — with his wife Carolina Morales. The cross-cultural, artist-run space provides a platform for experimentation and presentation of new works for contemporary artists, writers, filmmakers and performers.
Ged Merino is represented in Southeast Asia by The Drawing Room in Makati, Philippines and in Bogota, Colombia by Maleza Proyectos.

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