Hints of nettle amongst fox gloves and pink petticoats • Paola Germar

Jul 3 to Jul 29, 2013 • Video Room

Paola Germar’s latest solo exhibit of paintings and soft sculptures merge the macabre and beautiful: showing skeletons bedecked and entwined in jeweled, monogrammed finery. “Bones decay and release phosphorus; nettle thrive in soil rich in phosphorus. Where nettle is a body may be…a world where death is an ugly tendril reaching out to strangle its victim,” the artist writes. Germar speaks of how addiction slowly creeps onto the victim, strangled and engulfed by textiles and twine.

A warning to the worldly and unwise, the show speaks of how addiction—to excessive physical adornment and fleeting fashion, in particular—has the capacity to consume being; how it can literally and figuratively alter oneself. The show is a memento mori: reminding one of how mass-disseminated images of beauty and glamor belie a massive industry fuelled by gnawing hunger, rotting and strife. Germar notes how people can go to extreme lengths for adornment:

Poison can be used to enhance looks. The stereotypical belief of beauty makes people suicidal. Beauty is the physical danger that can damage the outside and inside of a person; it is merely an aspect of life, yet it can consume life itself. Beauty becomes more important than safety. While fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every so often: it’s a leader that has its subjects obeying its every whim.

The works in the exhibit one by one reveal another aspect to the world of fashion and beauty: a cutthroat arena fuelled by greed, stress and strife, whose players have been transformed into apparitions inhabiting the blackness of night. As a show, hints of nettle amongst fox gloves and pink petticoats offers a peek into this entire fiesta of decadence and mortality, indulging in the revelry and living to narrate these cautionary tales.

Germar graduated from the College of Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP CFA), cum laude, in 2011 and studied dressmaking at Slims Fashion and Arts School. She was awarded the Alab ng Sining grant and Best Thesis award during her senior year at the UP CFA.