Born in the Philippines in 1977, Patricia Perez Eustaquio is based in Manila, where she is considered one of the leading Filipino artists of her generation. Informed by the vocabulary of craft and design, she works in a wide variety of media – including painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation – and often uses such everyday materials as lace, felt, and cardboard. Her work explores the vanity of artistic and cultural constructs, referencing the histories and processes related to different materials by crafting highly decorative objects and then excising various elements, thereby creating a stark contrast between what is present and what is absent.
Her second solo exhibition with Tyler Rollins Fine Art, Black Dust, took place from January 7 – February 20, 2016. The show centered on a striking new series of works on paper done in graphite with touches of gold leaf, in which the artist focused on a rigorously detailed examination of certain materials and processes that are central to her own artistic production. These 40 × 30 inch (101 × 76 cm) drawings feature craggy, rock-like formations that upon closer examination are seen to be composed of two materials: globules of paint and wilted flowers. Eustaquio has for many years focused on themes of decay and detritus, exploring the expressive possibilities of humble materials and bringing to them an unexpected monumentality. Wilted flowers are an ongoing motif that she has utilized in some of her most iconic works: large, shaped canvases showing richly detailed, semi-abstract images based on decayed organic materials, including not only flowers but also dead birds and butchered meat – all of which are imbued with a haunting, elegiac quality.
For the Black Dust drawings, she zeroes in on the textures and tortured forms of the wilted flowers, the castoff materials from her studio work, juxtaposing these fragile forms with the rocky hardness of masses of coagulated paint droppings that she has collected over time from the drop cloths on which her easels rest. She blends the two motifs into a long, horizontal composition extending like a mountain range over the 12 sheets of paper, with areas of deeply shaded, solid forms dissolving into more minimalist line drawings. As a whole, the series can be conceived as a somber meditation on the interconnections between the processes of gestation, flourishing, and decay as seen both in nature and in art. The process of artistic creation, the struggles to make concrete and visible the conceptions of the mind, and the subtle melancholy that pervades all aspirations towards the eternal – all these are quietly evoked by these stark, unsparing works.
Eustaquio’s work was recently on view in the exhibition, The Vexed Contemporary, at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Manila, the Philippines (2015) and was featured in a 2013 solo exhibition, The Future That Was, at the Jorge B. Vargas Museum in Manila, done in conjunction with an exhibition of the same title at Tyler Rollins Fine Art. In 2016, Eustaquio had a solo presentation at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris.