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Art Underground Manila

Beyond physical healing, the body – the presumed temple, graces the earth with a persistent yearning for the nurturing cradle of fulfillment, a nourished soul fed by spiritual virtues, those of which Arce anchors to in his solo exhibition.

In his exhibit entitled “t o t u m,” Arce expounds on his personal depiction of the Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit – charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modestly, continency, and chastity. The term totum - which is Latin for whole, is explored by the artist with his principles and ideologies of devotion, basing it on Saint Jerome’s Latin translation of the Bible known as the Vulgate – the official text of the Bible used by the Catholic Church.

Known for his highly textured artworks, the artist utilizes fragmented frames and canvases which seem to gradually melt from the wall. His thick brushstrokes create a sculptural quality to the artwork, an exceptional display of masterpieces that jump out of the wall, aggressive in breaking the piece apart yet mild enough in calming uncertainties with his mute color palette. Arce’s elements of flora and foliage are derived from the artist’s interpretation of herbal plants, a contributor in regaining substantial strength. As an implication of the artist’s shortcomings to a Higher Being, his cut-out frames are filled with watermark lines, drawn freehand on the base of the canvas, humble and faint tendrils that represent the Almighty, filling up all gaps to complete the whole.

Arce’s exhibition implores the viewer to acknowledge individual fragments of the mind, body, and soul - the deconstruction of the self as part of a process in discovering spiritual wisdom to carefully and meticulously mend human frailty. In spite of brokenness, there is modesty and genuineness in realizing the true definition of the totality.

Write-up by Deseree Mangulabnan

January 31, 2022
January 21, 2022



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