Fashion designer and artist Yvonne Quisumbing, who has been in hiatus after moving to Cebu, returns to the art scene after more than a decade. Her painting exhibit, titled Who Are You Wearing? runs until August 6 at Silverlens Gallery, 2320 Don Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Makati.
Yvonne explores mythological, astrological and biblical meta narratives and gives each faceless portrait a name and corresponding narrative and symbolism to represent actual persons.
“Tame,” for example, shows a dressage horse for a face, representing an individual who “sticks to the rules she made for herself, no matter what.”
“Ado” refers to the wife who looked back and became a pillar of salt.
“Wife” is bejeweled, pointing to Yvonne’s interpretation of gems as valued burdens. Blooms and plumes are integrated generously in all the facades, lending a dynamic touch to the volumes, seemingly warning of more change. The horns, meanwhile, provide a semblance of structure, holding everything together.
Yvonne’s approach to representation is relatable because she makes use of symbols that are easy to understand. As an artist, her goal is to reach out and not confuse people. Her pieces rationalize the inclination to pretension. The art works seem to say that the tendency to cover up is natural, as is the penchant to adorn one’s self to compensate.
All is well until the mask becomes the face itself and this is where Yvonne’s question (and the title of the exhibition) hangs heavy.
The masked faces pertain to a threatened breakdown between image and creator, wherein the posturing becomes the portrait itself, where the expected reaction is that of horror.
Thus, the tentativeness of the question, “Who are you wearing?” comes out as if told in apology, or pure curiosity, or invitation to reflection, or rebuke or damnation.
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