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The Duality of Nature

The beauty and power of nature—its capacity to give life and take it away—take center stage in these exhibits.

For the month of July, Altro Mondo Art Contemporanea presents three exhibits that showcase the beautiful and terrifying power of nature. 

Alarming X Surrealista brings together Mark Belicario and Maria Francisca Juarez. Their work is underpinned by fear and fascination toward nature’s ability to consume and sustain life.

Mark Belicario exorcises his fear of the ocean through his compositions. Taking inspiration from the seascape masters like J.M.W. Turner, Winslow Homer, and Katsushika Hokusai, the artist renders thick tempestuous waves in his painting “Stormy Seascape,” molding every ebb and flow to his liking as a symbolic gesture of control over that which gives him anxiety and fear.

Triumph and beauty in the midst of adversity is at the heart of Maria Francisca Juarez’s work. The artist hails from Toledo City in Cebu, which has experienced its fair share of natural disasters. Just last year, Juarez herself experienced the wrath of Typhoon Odette.

The destruction left in its wake inspired her to create the works included in the exhibit. Within each piece is the dichotomy of ruin and rebirth––ramshackle houses and dried earth coexist with lush greenery and vibrant hues. All this is rendered through Juarez’ vigorous brush strokes, bringing them to life and inviting the viewer to reflect on and recognize the terror and beauty of the world we live in.

An Adventure of a Lifetime is visual artist Jeffrey Guanlao’s creative exploration of his childhood, wherein traveled extensively on his own. Art and travel served as a place of refuge for the artist, who would sneak out of his house to escape his troubles at home. 

Traveling offered Guanlao an opportunity to broaden his horizons and shape the foundations of his creative practice. Consequently, his works feature rendered landscapes, natural sceneries, and otherworldly creatures based on local folklore and myths.

As such, his surreal paintings are filled with the mystical and fantastical, transporting the viewer to the ethereal, sometimes nightmarish, visions straight out of the artists’ mind palace.

The lush environments Guanlao traveled to fueled his imagination and served as places of solace during difficult times. It’s during these periods where he thought of other worlds and lives beyond his own, and his art serves as a gateway to these fanciful realities.

Keith Paras is known for his delicate renderings of clusters of flowers. For his solo exhibition titled Life in Colors, he creates vivid, multicolored odes to nature and its beauty. Each painting is adorned with vibrant flowers: roses, peonies, chrysanthemums, and dahlias.

Roses symbolize love, beauty, balance, passion and wisdom, while chrysanthemums recall lasting relationships with family and friends, rest and recovery, and cheerfulness. Peonies represent honor, respect, and wealth, and dahlias signify new beginnings and triumph above challenges.

Paras chose these flowers as a means of giving hope and positivity to those who need it most. In dire times, Paras seeks to bring joy through his art, inviting the viewer to live not only for themselves, but for the goodness of others.

Alarming x Surrealista, An Adventure of a Lifetime, and Life in Colors, will be on display at Altro Mondo Creative space until July 30. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. For inquiries, please contact us on Facebook (@altromondoart) or Instagram (@altromondoart). You may also message them on Viber or WhatsApp at +63 917 888 7872.