Almost two decades ago in 2003, Gary-Ross Pastrana held a solo exhibition of works done entirely in collage at an independent art space in Quezon City. These were small works on paper, which steadily accumulated since his time as an art student. Most of them were part of his own personal regimen and process, and were for his own use and amusement. It was mainly through a string of fortuitous events during that year that led him to finally decide to show them. And since then, Pastrana has shown his collages in more than twenty different shows, both here and overseas, which include solo exhibitions that regularly appear in between projects he's more known for.Moving forward to this year, marked by a global pandemic and localized lockdowns, Pastrana has found himself working in another art space—this time, in isolation, and in a studio at Calle Wright, Malate, while the rest of the world's art programs and exhibitions have seemingly come to a pause. This compelled him to confront more intensively this material left at his disposal—his usual respite from more conceptual work—his paper cuttings, his collages. They became for him, during confinement, the moment's medium. And it was in this moment, where the proclivity for making collage also required careful introspection and consideration.An unwavering, yet intermittent operation of such enterprise certainly demands the artist's attention and understanding. And this fruition—of almost twenty years of collage-making—becomes an occasion to confront certain questions about certain things, such as its viability, its longevity, and its final impetus. Witnessing an artist's journey through a specific aberration in form, such as Gary-Ross Pastrana's own excursions with collage, gives us incredible insight on the nuances in sustaining and collapsing artistic endeavors, and provides great retrospective on how these pieces have eventually come together to define the artist's vision.
Words by Cocoy Lumbao
Lapanday Center, 2263 Don Chino Roces Extension.
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