A Table for Two

A Table for Two

Crystal Tranquilino generates the story-telling power of the painting medium as she reflects upon the shifts, upheavals, and transformations brought about by the pandemic. A Table For Two presents interrelated works that are meant to be experienced diachronically, plotting one woman’s internal journey using the narrative of food, set against the backdrop of a global catastrophe.

A Table for Two
a series by Crystal Tranquilino

Rather than using the familiar tropes of the pandemic, the artist has chosen the succession of meals in a formal dining as the exhibition’s organizing principle—from hors d’oeuvre to dessert. In the initial work, the figure is revealed partially, with her nose and mouth exposed (the body parts that would soon be covered by the ubiquitous mask) and the meal rendered descriptively. By the second to the last painting, a pivot occurs. The figure, which represents “the current self,” is now brought into focus, her mouth only now moderately obscured, with the food having lost its sharpness.

The revelation of the mouth portends an improvement of the pandemic situation while the slow destruction of the banquet indicates the shift of the character’s attention from the accoutrements of the outside world to the existential conditions of the self. “This figure,” states Tranquilino, “represents who I was before the pandemic, and who I have become now…I wanted to use the sequence of courses as something that represents change, the passing of time, and the internal struggles.”

Such unravelling of what people have held as bedrock certainties is evoked not only by the depiction of the slow consumption of objects (such as melting candles and Tranquilino’s trademark painterly drips), but by the decision of the artist to render it with loose, open brushstrokes. “The smooth, almost photo-real rendering I was used to doing no longer feels authentic to the person I am today,” she states. As exemplified by the works, the acknowledgment that things may not revert back to the so-called normal results in a figuration that is clarifying, resonant, and true to emotional energies.

-Carlomar Arcangel Daoana

Time & Location

Metro Gallery

23 Mar to 1 Apr 2022

14-B Ortega St., Addition Hills, San Juan, Philippines 1500