Sunday, December 17, 2006


The Art of Ronaldo Ruiz and His Technological Sublimation
By Danny C. Sillada

Abstract paintings pullulating with red and golden hues, black baby dolls crawling toward a television screen, and labyrinthine electronic gadgets with eerie lights sum up the “Technological Sublimation” of the award winning Filipino painter, installation and performance artist Ronaldo Ruiz.

In his particular installation “Technological Sublimation”, Ruiz came up with a concept how television and computer could distort the minds of the children and teenagers with his powerful imagery of baby black dolls watching another doll on TV monitor with iconic head and body stuck with syringes. The result is hauntingly surreal and mesmeric.

The artist never ceases exploring what technology could offer in his art, be it installation or live art performance. He manipulates and exploits technological gadgets to send across his message that technology could either build or destroy. It sounds trite and banal but Ruiz, like a shaman, had masterfully delivered his ingenuity with a powerful specter of reality in our society.

In contrast to his abstract paintings, his installations and live art performances are more dynamic and visually compelling. His paintings, on the other hand, evoke the balance of forms and colors, a conscious portrayal of yīn and yang. The subdued primary colors and refined patterning textures on canvas reflect the artist’s archetypal persona.

Surprisingly, however, the artist’s installation and performance art reveal the repressed side of his personality. His installation, for instance, discloses his inner self dashed with satirical sentiment and existential angst. The unrestrained histrionic portrayal of his three-dimensional pieces serves as a liberating device of his inner struggle as an artist of incalculable vision and eloquence.

To sum, the art of Ronaldo Ruiz invites the viewers to immerse into his own world of harmony and disorder. At times, his art can be visually appealing, evoking serenity within, but most often, his art perturbs and provokes bringing the viewers to their own reality, a reality numbed with complacency and cynicism.

© Danny C. Sillada

Saturday, August 26, 2006


WAWI NAVARROZA - musician, poet, performance artist, writer and a photographer has blossomed to a full-grown artist in her pursuit for highly sensitive aesthetics.

Three years ago I met this lovely petite girl at the opening of my exhibit titled “Surreality” in White Plains, then haven of the revived Philippine Art Gallery, one of the oldest galleries in the Philippines. She was vivacious with a goddess-like face teeming with life and passion. I didn’t know then what this lovely girl’s artistic life awaits her in the future.

In 2005, our path crossed again when I invited her to read my poems at the opening of my show titled “The Collection” at The Podium, Mandaluyong City. And it was also the time when I recommended her to the PIPAF Director Yuan Mor’O Ocampo for the 4th Philippine International Performance Arts Festival that was held in September 0f 2005.

At that time, I didn’t know that Wawi is the vocalist of a rock band named “The Late Isabel” and I didn’t know either that she is already a professional photographer, who had been winning awards from photography, one of which, from the prestigious AAP competitions. Wawi is still the same girl that I met two years earlier except that her new look resembles to one of the personas portrayed by Winona Ryder in the movie.

At the opening of my show at The Podium, Wawi performed my poems with a powerful imagery of a motherland, clad in semi-Filipiniana attire with the Red Cross symbol printed on her chest and a wreath of thorns around her head. She followed the red tape trail on the floor that was created by Moro Ocampo’s live art performance earlier in the event, as a segue to her own interpretation of my poems. The thrilling response of the audience was overwhelming.

During the 4th Philippine International Performance Arts Festival that year, Wawi surprised me again with her riveting performance at the Dance Forum titled “Truth is Many and Lies in Between”. She danced like a gypsy wearing her uniquely designed attire with empty cans attached around her dress and between her head. Here, Wawi portrayed the plight of human relationship between sanity and insanity, reality and illusion, truth and lies. Her inner soul flowed like the gypsy’s ritual song resonating with her body movements - bizarre but mystical.

In her “Labyrinth” at Rajah Soliman, a durational performance of the same festival, Wawi once again enthralled the audience with her mesmerizing feat. She was wearing beige attire with hood; her face was covered with black veil while she was pulling the cart filled with household objects. One remarkable object on the cart was a lamp as though it was guiding her through a long, winding journey into a dimensional world.

With her natural sense of theatrical characterization and sensitive use of framing devices in her live art performance, Wawi emerged like a powerful “babailan” or shaman, provoking and engaging the ‘sore spots’ of her audience. Her haunting portrayal of symolic elements is reflective of her passion as a photographer, capturing not only the visual images of her performance but stories of her subjects in detail.

Today, I see Wawi as a delicate legendary flower in my land in Davao called “Itum na Buwac” or the “black orchid”; her smell spread out throughout the mountains and rivers, reaching out and healing the lonely souls through her aesthetic creation.

© Danny C. Sillada

photos (from top to bottom): (1) wawi's poetry performance at my 7th one-man show at the podium, 2005; (2) Wawi & me at the opening of my 8th one-man show at art center, sm megamall, 2006; (3) wawi at dance forum, philippine international performance art festival, 2005; (4) wawi at rajah soliman, philippine international performance art festival, 2005; (5) wawi reading my poems at the opening of my 8th one-man show at art center, sm megamall, 2006.