Since officially opening its doors to the public in 2010, Pintô Art Museum, has become the place-to-be and a melting pot of sorts of various arts and artists from all over the Philippines.
Owned by esteemed Filipino neurologist and patron of the arts, Dr. Joven Cuanang, the sprawling 2-hectare complex in Antipolo has been providing a platform for Filipino and foreign artists to show their works in the last three decades since the day the good doctor became a supporter of practicing artists in the region in the mid ‘80s.
Obviously, the name of the museum came from the Tagalog word for door. Aside from the artists and art aficionados, Pintô Art Museum also welcomes the general public to open their minds and hearts to new possibilities, new directions, “by providing a door to reach out to the world, a door for everyone to come in!”
Currently, this gateway for modern and contemporary art, has an assemblage of over 300 modern paintings, sculptures, and art installations by various local artists housed in seven galleries to date. Also found inside the property are two museums, a school for the arts, a café, plazas, pavilions and pleasure gardens, a lush arboretum, and art wherever the eye turns.
That’s why when this writer got an invitation for an exhibit opening one Sunday, I was excited to come and see the place even if it meant long travel from my place of residence in Novaliches, Quezon City, to Antipolo City.
And I’m glad I did! Together with my family we were more than happy to once again experience museum life after the pandemic. We did not only immerse ourselves with various arts and art forms but we also enjoyed the
open air spaces, nature, and fresh air.
However, we didn’t have enough time to explore the place and we decided to spend our precious two hours at the expansive Gallery 7, which we learned was the newest addition among the galleries and was inaugurated on December 2019, in time for Dr. Cuanang’s 80th birthday.
I also got the biggest bonus of the day by meeting, having a chitchat, and a photo taken with the museum owner while touring Gallery 7. You see, I used to meet Dr. Cuanang, one of country’s best neurologists, at health-related coverages during my stint at a business newspaper.
Of course, I also met abstract expressionism artist Billie Jean, who opened her exhibit at Ilustrado 2, back-to-back with Lynyrd Paras’s at Ilustrado I, that day.
Aptly titled Undisturbed Gaze, Billie Jean’s exhibit offers a whiff of fresh air and feeling of lightness from mostly dark, huge installations, and art forms at the entirety of Gallery 7. Ilustrado 2 transforms to be the happy place for guests and viewers where bright colors take center stage with the artist’s masterful use of pastel and neon hues. BJ’s abstraction distinctively displays feminine vitality and shapes that come to life with rhythmic energy. This suite of works — ranging from vibrant paintings to captivating sculptures — showcase BJ’s extraordinary talent in harnessing color as a powerful compositional tool.
Undisturbed Gaze at Pintô Art Museum is BJ’s 4th solo exhibit. Her last shows were held on February 2023 at Art Fair 2023 under Art Verite Gallery and March 2023 at Secret Fresh Gallery Ortigas.
Art reviewer Carlomar Archangel Daoana was right when he said that BJ’s “distinctive feminine touch resonates a robust aesthetic that mesmerizes the viewer with her artworks that’s multi-layered, lush and vibrating. Her rich biomorphic shapes seem to pulse with life. They evoke a sense of movement, expansion and prolific growth. The rhythmic dance of these organic lines gives her paintings a distinct wholeness and unity.”
Perhaps that’s because Billie Jean herself is happiness and hope personified. Her stunning presence alone – a tall K-Pop-like icon, always smiling and is very accommodating – gives a brand-new energetic image of an artist and her crafts. In fact, even her sculptures share in this boundless energy, appearing as if they are about to leap into the surrounding space.
Indeed, Undisturbed Gaze commands our attention – allowing no disturbance, only the purest form of appreciation for the interplay of lines and colors. She herself, BJ said during our interview, focused in her art especially during the pandemic, to stay happy and undisturbed by the unfortunate events that befell the world at that time. With her art, BJ invites us to look deep within ourselves, to encounter the beauty of the world through her vibrant creations.
Offering unique artistic voice amidst the diversity of contemporary art, BJ’s immediate plans include more solo exhibits to come and soon to conquer her bucket list’s prime exhibition places. This shouldn’t be a distant dream for BJ as she works hard for her crafts which she discovered during her college days. And just like her idol in the industry, Elmer Borlongan, who happens to be one of the pioneers and original artist of Pintô Art Museum, BJ would surely find her rightful place under the sun.
So, if you happen to be in Antipolo City, drop by the Pintô Art Museum located at 1 Sierra Madre St. Grand Heights, Antipolo City. Relax and enjoy art viewing, learn a thing or two about Filipino heritage and history, and take photos of yourself among the many Instagram-able areas of the vast property. Be sure to drop by Billie Jean’s Undisturbed Gaze which runs until October 7, 2023, at Ilustrado 2, Gallery 7.