Avellana Art Gallery's "Mula" Highlights Nature's Inner Workings

Avellana Art Gallery’s latest exhibition is a combination of creative pursuits and personal experiences. Entitled Mula (an Ilocano word that means “plant”), the show shines a spotlight on the artist as an observer of their natural surroundings. These studies of nature result in works that feature a variety of unique art styles. Its artists include Jonathan Castro, Rick Hernandez, Arden Mopera, and Resty Tica. 

L-R: Resty Tica, Arden Mopera, Jonathan Castro, and Rick Hernandez
L-R: Resty Tica, Arden Mopera, Jonathan Castro, and Rick Hernandez

The exhibition records the various facets of plant life that manifest around us and within our personal spaces. All four artists showcase this through the implementation of different techniques on the canvas. These include experimenting with color, form, and shapes to express the exhibit’s theme, which highlights the intersections of what’s man-made (art) and innate (nature). 

The official invite of Avellana Art Gallery's "Mula" exhibition
The official invite of Avellana Art Gallery’s Mula exhibition

Read on to get an exclusive look into each artist’s personal interpretations of the exhibit’s theme: 

Jonathan Castro 

Jonathan Castro’s creative process involves a great deal of introspection. He likens his paintings to “self-portraits” that reflect a person’s likeness and emotions. For the Mula exhibition, he used plants as a tool to study relationships between individuals.

Castro utilizes contrasting colors, as well juxtaposed light and dark tones, in his pieces. These elements emphasize distinct movements of individuals within a surrounding. 

"Katuray Sur" by Jonathan Castro
“Katuray Sur” by Jonathan Castro

“I use plants as visual metaphors conveying many themes. Having no faces of their own, plants in my artwork represent images with which viewers of diverse backgrounds can relate,” he tells Lifestyle Asia. “At times I celebrate individualism by emphasizing the one within the many. The many may be painted using complementary colors and the reversal of darks and lights.” 

Rick Hernandez 

Rick Hernandez aims to capture nature on canvas through colors and precise line work. Dominant oranges and yellows embody the brightness of light. A collection of forms and shapes produce an organic yet arbitrary impression of the natural world. Together, these elements recreate the sensation of being surrounded by nature—one that’s bold yet delicate in countenance. 

"Nymphaea" by Rick Hernandez
“Nymphaea” by Rick Hernandez

“My works serve as a kind of visual journal of how a plant develops, from a sprout to a fully-developed plant,” Hernandez shares with Lifestyle Asia. “It is enjoyable to observe the plants’ daily growth as they overlap and spread.”

“For me, the title Mula is what it means in Tagalog, which is ‘from’ or ‘source of something,’ as everything would be nothing without a beginning,” he adds. 

Arden Mopera 

Arden Mopera’s experience with growing plants in his own home informs the work he creates. The endeavor was meant to “incorporate” life into the abode, and acts as his main source of inspiration for the exhibition. 

"Irises" by Arden Mopera
“Irises” by Arden Mopera

The bumps and lines on his canvases represent plant growth from Mopera’s perspective: disordered and wild, yet tied together by an invisible and synchronized system that moves along with everything else.

“Just like the plants that grow naturally and go [towards] the direction of sun and rain,” he explains to Lifestyle Asia. “They have movements of their own, where one can experience the strokes of life.” 

Resty Tica 

Resty Tica’s approach is almost scientific in nature.  He references the technicalities of nature’s processes and transposes them onto the canvas. What comes out of this are incisive examinations into plant life that are distinguished by their many textures, which create depth and breadth within his works. 

"Camou" by Resty Tica
“Camou” by Resty Tica

“‘Mula’ [to me] is like a place and moment where I get the chance to investigate and observe the physical characteristics of a plant,” he tells Lifestyle Asia. “I play around with the ideas of variegation, propagation, and cultivation, then translate [them] to visual form by imitating colors, forms, and textures.” 

Mula’ runs from August 12 to September 2. Avellana Art Gallery is located at 2680 F.B. Harrison Street, Pasay City, and is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Photos courtesy of Avellana Art Gallery.

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