Allain Hablo, the sanguine Hablo, the finest Ilonggo contemporary abstract artist of our time.
This is attested by Bleed and Bloom II where he showed his ability to bring a viewer on an intellectual journey and deliberate upon a highly-divisive episode of our political life which culminated in the 2022 national elections.
Despite the integral role of politics in the functioning of our society, new trends highlighted its dysfunctions making politics one of the most demonized topics today.
By far, only Allain Hablo’s work has gentrified politics through a dozen mixed media on canvas of different sizes. He brought to a higher level of significance the essentiality of political discourse and his art serves to remind our consciousness that politics is here to stay.
Bleed and Bloom II is currently on its final stretch of the show at the upscale Mamusa Art Bistro.
On a more personal note, the collection can trigger deep thought and it can embrace a range of interpretations from viewers of different contexts, backgrounds, and disciplines. Whatever your circumstance in life or your political or spiritual belief, the collection has a meaning for you.
The artist has lost count when queried about the total number of solos to date organized by top galleries in Manila which usually captures his up-to-the-minute oeuvre for selected viewers-collectors.
“I just bring my work whenever I am invited by a gallery to join a show or to exhibit my latest work. This is probably the third or fourth for this year, I’m not certain,” he gestured.
Follow through social media posts by the artist, however, revealed that Bleed and Bloom II is his 19th solo show since he broke into the art scene as an award-winning artist some three decades past.
The Bleed and Bloom is a monogram of Hablo
Every Allain Hablo art collection is sensational. Regardless of subject or theme, it largely exudes the aesthetic value of simplicity, refinement, sophistication, opulence, and elegance.
This is consistently demonstrated by the series of art shows by Hablo from 2020 to the present, which, inexhaustibly, carry these elements like Kintsugi II at Art Anton (July 2020); Elixir (August 2020); Guided Pursuit at Galerie Roberto (February 2021); The Anatomy of Healing (July 2021); Gilded series at Gallery Anna (November 2021); Gilded II at Art Anton (June 2022); Bleed and Bloom at Art Elaan (July 2022); Sacred Journey at Salcedo Private View (May-June 2022), and Bleed and Bloom II.
There was no rest for Hablo during the global pandemic, a sedulous artmaker despite the lockdown, sent crates of finished work to all major galleries either for the physical or digital exhibit. This further cemented the name Hablo in the annals of contemporary Philippine art.
The entire collection is emblematic of the abstract art that has become synonymous with the name Hablo: industrial, minimalist, and modern.
A Hablo collection is a monogram of his periodic focus on an art process that features his evolving craftsmanship by combining the elements of carving, sculpting, and painting into his art using bare hands, brushes of various sizes, and even mechanized tools.
It contains a thick layered texture and is conjoined by colors that typify aging metal or steel with diversified hues that are analogous to extracted minerals from the bowels of the earth.
This is the dominant shade in the Bleed and Bloom II collection, earth colors with scattered tints of pastel indicating the thematic spirit of recent political events. Knowing the political science grounding of the artist, the work can be treated as Hablo’s lamentations of his political engagement and it imparts his courageous stand, embellishing the canvas with color tones that symbolize his socio-political analyses and forming commentaries that illustrate cause and effect; frustration and hope; losing and winning; death and new life – metaphorically bleed and bloom.
But the phenomenal number of pieces that he generated for this series nevertheless goes beyond the political experience. Bleed and Bloom incites viewer consciousness and it supplicates understanding of transformations, alterations, or modifications whether political or social, underscoring the inevitable continuity of life, a natural flow of living things that are born and die and that events can rise and fall, through intervention, disruption or creation by humans.
Hence, thematically, the collection enunciates the natural process that living things undergo, intimating Bleed and Bloom as transformational occurrences which implore acceptance that things of beauty undergo ugliness, unpleasantness, putrefaction, or disintegration; giving momentary pause to show death or lifelessness, but only to bloom later into unimaginable beauty probably in another form.
Kintsugi and Allain Hablo’s art of healing
The exquisite Japanese art of Kintsugi remains a meaningful element of Hablo’s art.
Instead of pottery, Hablo introduced the delicate restoration method and an art form that is prominent in Japanese culture until today using his canvas. Technically, Kintsugi is an expensive process serving the purpose of the opulent class to preserve historical items handed down from generation to generation like vessels, bowls, or tea cups.
It is possibly fate that brought Hablo to learn the value of Kintsugi and he found its principle to be applicable to art and life. Hablo may have recognized his vulnerabilities and which might have exposed concealed parts of him during the pre-Kintsugi period creating a hyper-awareness and eventually favorable condition that restoration and healing are within reach.
It is in this context that Kintsugi subliminally mirrors the inner self-healing process of Allain Hablo whose career and life have been likewise characterized by hardship, struggles, and personal turmoil growing up in the rich fishing ground of Estancia in Northern Iloilo. Consequently, it conveys that a blooming fine abstract artist that we know today nevertheless underwent the process of bleeding, certainly through multiple episodes of family, friends, and love, making him “bleed-tested”, sharpened by life’s unforgiving bleeding moments.
Hence, he has found parallelism in Kintsugi as an art of joining together what has been broken and as a science of healing – picking up every fragment scattered along the course of his life so that it can be joined together and made whole again.
The Kintsugi element of a gilded crack in the cross-section of the canvas remains an inexhaustible symbol considering that breaking and healing whether that is for living or non-living things is constant, may it be deliberate or unintentional.
Patrons who understood the meaning of Kintsugi have gained an appreciation of Hablo’s art and it established an emotional connection with his work, serving as a descriptor of their healing process, and looking forward that whatever has been broken can likewise be mended through Kintsugi.
Bleed and Bloom II infer the sanguine Hablo – optimistic amid adversity. The work of Hablo will endure across time and space, not only because it is a fine work of art, done by the finest mind and hands, but more than that, his art serves as an instrument of healing and restoration.