‘Excerpts from a Monotony Journa’ by Paolo Icasas – Silverlens Galleries


Silverlens Galleries

Nov 08 - Dec 03, 2022

A prayer for our children, 2019, ink on paper, 45.8×30.5cm
All images by courtesy of Silverlens Galleries

Paolo Icasas gathers a mindful selection of recent works on paper for Excerpts from a Monotony Journal, his first solo exhibition for Silverlens in its Online Viewing Room. Primarily executed in ink and other water-based media, they offer a succinct counterpoint to his larger canvases, not just in medium or scale but more in approach. Paolo’s painting process often involves multiple waves of scratching, scraping, and erasing, as he reworks layers upon layers of paint until the actual work finally emerges. It’s a labor-intensive process that takes time to bear fruit. In contrast, his paper works are distinguished by a sense of fluidity and swiftness, in parts closer to drawing or sketching, yet still very much rooted in painting.

  • House Plant 7, 2022, ink on paper, 30.5×23.0cm

  • Stars, 2019, ink on paper, 30.5×23.0cm

Initially conceived purely as an exercise, Paolo began making these quick and highly gestural pieces early each morning to somehow get his hand loose, as he eases himself into the flow of the workday. It never occurred to him that collectively, they’ll become a considerable body of work that one day will be put on view. The auspicious moment came when Silverlens dropped by for a studio visit and chanced upon the stack of paper works in his studio. Soon after, the gallery invited him to make a presentation and the current selection on view embodies an ample snapshot of a larger, still ongoing aspect of his practice.

With brush in hand, Paolo opts to paint what is already there: from lingering images in his mind to his wife’s plants, at times even some masterworks from books he’s currently reading. Instead of waiting, he runs head-on to arrest the images halfway, in midflight.  Like a medium, receiving notes from the cosmos. There’s something in his technique that functions like a primitive camera, capturing a subject’s surrounding aura with a few brushstrokes, encoding not just its overall shape but strangely, and somewhat magically, a glimpse of its cross-section; revealing a way to see through the subject, may it be a plant, a place, or a person.

Perhaps, this transparency is encouraged by diluting the ink with water, allowing the pigments to further dissolve and permeate into the fibers as it momentarily deforms the paper; creating undulations where excess liquids may pool, leaving distinct yet unplanned patterns and imprints. 

Ink runs, blots, sputters; it can stain, bleed, vandalize; in time it may coagulate, cake, and run dry. Indeed, ink touches paper already seeking and marking its own path. And as he continues to work in this medium, Paolo in turn learns more about surrendering control. What he once viewed as mistakes have taken on a different cause, in the process revealing what can’t be purposefully rendered by a rigid hand.

— Gary-Ross Pastrana

  • The Old Raven 1, 2020, ink on paper, 36.7×26.9cm

  • Against all we that held of no worth, 2020, ink and watercolour on paper, 23.0×30.50cm

  • After Goya's The Third of May, 2020, ink on paper, 30.5×45.8cm

About the Artist

  • Paolo Icasas

Often painting landscapes inspired by the locales where he lives and works, Paolo Icasas (b.1981) steers away from traditional rural landscapes, usually featuring Filipino peasant life with accompanying imagery, but keeps similar sentiments. His paintings are inspired by work—often manual labor—by the daily struggles of the common man, by the uncertainties that always go with living, and by man’s universal longing for rest.
We were first introduced to Icasas’ darkly lit landscapes in Life Jacket Under Your Seat (2016), an exhibition with Surrounded By Water in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, which was re-exhibited in Blanc Gallery shortly after.
Notable are his large-sized paintings, immersive in scale and lushly tactile in texture, with thick strokes and heavy smears of oil paint, sometimes infused with ground charcoal, rough, relief-like. He has previously shown these works in one-man exhibitions at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Blanc Gallery.


Excerpts from a Monotony Journa

8 November – 3 December 2022
会 場
Silverlens Galleries
2263 Don Chino Roces Avenue Extension Makati City, Philippines
電 話
+63 917-587-4011
10AM to 5PM Tuesday to Saturday

Editor: Aura Contemporary Art Foundation