Abstract Modulation: The Life of an Extraordinary Filipino Artist

Abstract Modulation: The Life of an Extraordinary Filipino Artist

Dennis “Sio” Montera is a visual artist from the Philippines whose abstraction expresses and narrates the interaction, sights and experiences that are carefully translated to a canvass with acrylic and non-traditional media. He continuously experiments on industrial techniques and processes that allows esoteric yet grounded feel towards his painting.

He graduated at the University of the Philippines with a Masters degree in Painting and is now completing his Doctoral degree in Tainan, Taiwan thru the National Cheng Kung University.

His art career

Suspended from Power (2013)

Dennis “Sio” Montera, who is in the caliber of the likes of Nestor Vinluan and Rosscapili, is undoubtedly one of the Philippines’ most active and recognizable abstractionists. Montera, who spends most his time in Southern Taiwan, where he is pursuing a Masters in Creative Industry, is also a Filipino artist whose practice is primarily based outside of the manila capital region.

This situation has put him in a position of being able to present his work as a unique proposition a Cebuano artist trained at University of the Philippines Cebu Fine Arts program who eschews the idyllic and conservative tipos del pais and genre scenes, of which Cebuano artists are known for.

As the Director of Qube Gallery, Cebu’s most prominent contemporary art space , he is influential to a new wave of artists seeking greater recognition outside the Philippines, even as they seek to change the views of art within it. Montera thus has, one imagines, a heavy responsibility to both the country and his city.

Sio’s abstract art and Filipino side

His art, however, has remained above it all an ethereal homage to abstraction, even as it remains refreshingly Filipino. Montera focuses on the uniquely Filipino understanding of sacrifice as both a hermeneutic process. The late scholar and fellow Cebuano Reuben Ramas Cañete as well as an epistemic totality that webs the individual society, metaphysics and material existence together into a dialectic and redemptive experience.

His intellectual side

His intellectual side

For Montera’s latest exhibition at Qube Gallery, the aptly titled A State of Introspection , the artist seems steadfastly resolute in his abstract sensibilities. In the process, he has reined in his more gestural strokes and prefers to work with organic layers that are thoughtfully spaced between stark backgrounds.

 As typical of Montera, there is a highly intellectualized quality to his work. The Golden Age of Romance for instance, is quite literally dominated by gold, but reveals the quiet hint of affection in small streaks of red. One imagines Jackson Pollock with extremism, or Rothko without vagueness. It is a Filipino- Cebuano, take on Abstract Expressionism that Montera bravely engages in.

The exhibition notes, written by Adjani Arumpac, describes Montera’s process in detail he modulates, painting four to eight thin acrylic layers, with a special oil-based lubricant in between the layers to aid in the eventual peeling process. And then, the painstaking carefully controlled peeling, scraping, scratching to reveal layers underneath. The results are palimpsests that chronicle the time consuming, meditative process the creation of art.

Image Sources:

Photo Attribution:

Featured and 1st image from https://weekend.sunstar.com.ph/blog/category/the-scene/p-e-e-p-s/page/33/

2nd image from https://www.artmajeur.com/en/art-gallery/gallery/siomontera/1456828

3rd image from https://www.artmajeur.com/en/art-gallery/gallery/siomontera/1456828

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