Sweep • Lyra Garcellano

Dec 9, 2014, to Jan 3, 2015 • Upstairs Gallery

Notions of identity and of home are tackled in Lyra Garcellano’s exhibition Sweep. In using the metaphor of “land” this (mass) assembly of landscape paintings that share/or follow a single horizon line in the quadriptych equates to the idea of space and/or imaginings of a place. Frame by frame, each painting serves to represent a simile of the unequivocal genre.

A video of scenes of agricultural France and of Bacolod, taken by the artist, accompanies the paintings. Her monologue explores concepts of inclusion and exclusion.

When you imagine the home you wish for, does it imagine you back?
If you were to walk across the horizon, would you be able to find what you are looking for?

You wonder: Where is the space that actually welcomes you, as though you belong there?
Is there even such a place?
Where is the location where you would feel that the mountain has moved to accept you?
Where the land feels like home under your feet?
And where it seems to say, “Hey, this is the place where you can become.”
This is the place where you can attempt “to be”.
This is the place where your strange brown face can actually live.

Did you ever have that feeling?
When you find yourself in a vast space only to feel that equally massive feeling of being shunned or turned away?

You don’t belong here. That’s what the place seems to say.
It seems neither a whisper nor a threat.
But it is a declaration:
You belong elsewhere.
But definitely not here.

Suddenly you begin to see boundaries.
And walls appear where there weren’t before.
And everything you can imagine about freedom gets erased.

The home we imagine doesn’t always materialize as we would like to picture it.
Because spaces not only include but also exclude.
Just as love excludes you in many ways, land, sky and mountain can spit you out too.

It’s like love that warms you but only to leave you dead cold.
It’s like love that sometimes says: Go away. Shut the door and never come back.

How do we pretend to change the story?
Is it worth the love left in-between spaces?
Is it worth the love in the third space?
Or love among the unfixed?
Or even love amid the dispossessed?

They say a landscape is unfinished, just like history.
And when you walk across it you’ll find yourself on the path scattered with could-have-beens and should-have-beens.
But there are always the could-be’s and would-be’s, they say.
That is, if you believe in such things.

Heck, is that possible?
Is that even possible for the likes of me? Or you?

So what else is there to say?
Let’s imagine a home that can possibly imagine us back.

—Lyra Garcellano
From Sweep, (2:38 minutes, video, 2014)