Tuesday, 20 October 2015


Give me space and don't tell me what to do
Until 14 November 2015

Trek Valdizno is a Filipino and he is an abstract artist. Unusual because in Australia Filipino art is noted for it’s social realism. Artist’s concerned with the politics of corruption, inequality and the psychosexual drama of the Catholic Religion. Abstraction however has a Filipino history that began in the mid 20th century with a group of “Neo-realist” artists. So called because they strove to find a separate and new reality in their paintings. And so it is with Trek.  His works appear to be of a subject yet it is an invention that he is striving to achieve through his spontaneous gestural marks not an interoperation of reality.

Discussing his work Trek asked the question, does it look Asian, is it oriental? And while a prescriptive definition of Asian Art would be doomed as a clich√© I can say that Trek’s abstract art doesn’t seem dominated by the landscape in the way that Australian abstract at is. Here the most rigorous abstract artists attach place names to their paintings suggesting perhaps a connection through mood to particular landscapes while the potent force that is Aboriginal abstract painting deepens this connection with land into a cosmology. In comparison Trek offers us images of objects but not of our world. These are objects that he has found in him self.

This is a kind of Abstract Expressionism, something that was the artistic invention of the USA, the Philippines 20th century coloniser. Part high culture missionary and part pop culture’s adulterous concubine, the pervasive intervention of American culture in Asia that began in the Philippines has become a question of how Asia appropriates modernity. It’s miss read, modified to meet local requirements, and repackaged for export back to the west where it takes it place on the shelves of a global cultural supermarket.

And in that supermarket Filipino abstract painting has a look about it that is hard to mistake, a look that looks a lot like these paintings by Trek. Raw paintings quickly made of an interior space that is far from claustrophobic.

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