Witness • Joy Mallari

Sep 4 to Sep 29, 2014 • Tall Gallery

Strange Specter

Visions of other worlds and imaginings of life elsewhere hound the popular imagination. Enchantment is magnified when objects of wonder are beings or places that seem familiar yet are markedly different. Such may be the case for primates and extra-terrestrial life forms, even vampires, zombies, or mutants. Traces of humanity are vigorously grafted onto them making them nearly human but not entirely so. What can this possibly say about us? How do these projections essay our understandings of existence in a precariously placed planet?

Foremost perhaps, they summon the long shadow of imminent perishing. These imaginaries ferried through ‘other-ness’ ride the tempestuous crests of truth and farce. They reside in the dim cave of vision and linger the dark crevices of truth. Ought we believe or cast into doubt?

Veering greatly from the divide between doubt and belief, Joy Mallari emphasizes instead the tenuous relationship between seeing and proof. She mobilizes materiality to shift attention to artifice and the mechanics of fabrication while avidly examining the workings of myth on structures of belief. Mallari explores the intricacies of seeing by recreating the site of an extra-terrestrial landing. Real or not, visible or unseen, phantom or vision, these sightings possibly signal incipient anxieties about our world. On the other hand, they also feed certain forms of wonderment; the kind that eases solitariness, assures, and yet feeds off difference. Herein springs our inherent fascination for the strange.

There exists in the installation the fluidity of time. While referenced themes or stories are traced to the past, Mallari recasts them with the stamp of contemporariness. Myths function to make sense of the order of things, assuaging our primal fears of dissolution and demise. Mallari’s body of works speaks to this yearning: infusing our flagging attempts at cohesion, stability and survival with renewed hope. Curiously, it seems this promise can only thrive in bits and pieces, magnified by stark opposites bearing familiar fragments.

Joy Mallari, in this and her more recent installations essentially destabilizes the relationship between looking and believing. Deftly navigating the vehicle of myth, she convinces us that it is our humanity under scrutiny. The scenes and sites she conjures remind of occurrences which many had professed to witnessing and which others doubt. This is not so much about the artist trying to convince us of the verity of events; it is about her charting the charged terrain of vision, the lures of artifice, the mechanics of invention and the intricate web of truth.

And here she astutely reminds: imagination is indeed uncharted galaxy unto itself.

—Tessa Maria Guazon

Artworks from the Show

The Fortune Seeker

The Fortune Seeker, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 12-in height by 25-in diameter

The Totem

The Totem, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 12-in height by 21-in diameter

The Gamer

The Gamer, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 13-1/2-in height by 24-in diameter

The Beat Rider

The Beat Rider, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 14-in height by 27-in diameter

The Thinker

The Thinker, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 12-in height by 21-in diameter

The Birth

The Birth, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 13-1/2-in height by 20-in diameter

The Giver

The Giver, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 12-in height by 20-in diameter

The Tamer

The Tamer, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 14-in height by 25-in diameter

The Student

The Student, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 15-in height by 26-in diameter

The Scribe

The Scribe, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 12-in height by 24-1/2-in diameter

The Shelter

The Shelter, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 11-in height by 24-in diameter

The Builder

The Builder, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 12-in height by 24-1/2-in diameter

The Alchemist

The Alchemist, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 12-in height by 24-1/2-in diameter

The Monk

The Monk, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 13-1/2-in height by 24-1/2-in diameter

The Storyteller

The Storyteller, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 11-in height by 35-in diameter

The Warrior

The Warrior, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 15-in height by 34-1/2-in diameter

The Scientist

The Scientist, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 11-in height by 23-1/2-in diameter

The Connoisseur

The Connoisseur, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 16-in height by 34-1/2-in diameter

The Oracle

The Oracle, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 12-1/2-in height by 26-in diameter

The Temptress

The Temptress, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 17-in height by 35-1/2-in diameter

The Bearer

The Bearer, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 12-in height by 24-1/2-in diameter

The Guardian

The Guardian, Joy Mallari, 2014, Mixed media, 16-in height by 36-in diameter