Rogue Wave • Nikki Ocean

May 4 to May 28, 2018 • Tall Gallery

The moon is an unchanging whole without the sun.
2 Neon: a dazed nostalgia for the lightness of childhood.
3 Why does the heart continue to lust for the beauty of rainbows even if the mind knows that color is an illusion?
4 More courage is needed to stay afloat than to kill yourself.
5 The moon collides with its reflection.
6 Tears turn into salt: the irreverence of being.
7 Sunrise will always break a rogue wave.


A show about life as a constant struggle to find our inner voice and true selves, the space is replete with imageries of light, journey, and reflection; such as mirrors, vessels, sun, clock, moon, lanterns, and sea.

Exhibiting a total of 22 pieces at Finale’s Tall Gallery, Ocean hopes to connect with the audience through a layered approach to storytelling as she collaborates with a musician and poet, painting a visceral moment that captures her personal meditations on being and time.

“When I create an exhibit, I consider the space as a medium too. I sometimes wonder why people still bother to attend art shows when they can scroll and swipe through images of paintings through the convenience of their screens—within the safe touch of connected isolation.

But why do we listen to live music? Why do we watch an actual sunset or walk through forests? That energy can’t be replicated,” says the painter.

Ocean juxtaposes noise and symbols of illusion amidst this luminous mishmash to create tension and depth. In betwixt paintings, musician Nights of Rizal will be performing an original score based on his understanding of Nikki’s intention for the show and the conversations they’ve had around it:

“I’m definitely playing around with different waveforms, and different ways of oscillating waveforms. However I think the essence of my music for the show will be less about the individual waves and oscillations themselves but more about how they intersect—willingly or accidentally—which I believe is what Rogue Wave is all about,” explained the composer.

“What would seem like chaos is actually a complex cloud of causality,” he added.

“I’ve always found social pressures alienating, even debilitating when they prevent us from expressing our authenticity. And I’m aware I’m not alone. Today, I notice its magnification through social media where people lust for instant self-validation and delusive pleasure. I want to explore how these kinds of distractions cunningly shift the trajectory of our lives, how they delay us from facing ourselves and living our inner truths.

Life is finite. It’s so short, yet we rearrange our lives to please the public gaze. A lot of us have become slaves to the opinions of others; in that sense, we become the living dead. I hope people wake up to seek the depths of soulful human connection, to embrace the beauty of presence despite the lure to escape,” expressed Nikki.

Rogue Wave opens on May 4, 2018 and will run until May 28. Artist talk is on May 19, 4 PM.

—Czyka Tumaliuan