Printmaking has been vital in the act of place-making. The “making of a place” is when one draws out the many cartographic accents of the land and of the seas. In marking territories and jotting down paths, printmaking was used to literally and metaphorically carve out this world via maps, pamphlets, and other prints that have been churned out throughout the generations. Changes, demarcations delineations, show that printmaking is associated with the motions of containing land.
However, nature can never be contained. Though there are numerous prints about the beauty, the danger, and the splendor of nature, nature will never be controlled. This year’s exhibition of the latest prints by members and friends of the Association of Pinoyprintmakers at the Cultural Center of the Philippines show the many intricacies of nature. Titled Nature-Nurture, this exhibition posts the question to the participating artists on the valuation of nature as its own force, as a point of inspiration, as a focus of struggle. Nature-Nurture is not a dichotomy like two sides of the same coin. Nature-Nurture is a rallying call on these days of blind abuse of our environment.
Nature-Nurture showcases the varied points of view from printmakers of different persuasions: from the florid, to the calm, to the calamitous. These are works that are extensions of the very impetus of humanity to render art in the first place which is to make sense of the powers of nature, from Paleolithic cave paintings to grandiloquent immersive landscapes of Chinese scrolls, to bravura of disasters caught on canvas. Nature has been a favored subject of many artists as a source of inspiration. Nature has always been a focal point between humanity and creation in terms of making sense of our place in this world. Are we nature’s gatekeepers? Are we nature’s guardians? Are we under nature’s spell? Can we ever control nature’s awesome incalculable might? Nature has always been the framework in the search for the sublime. (Chong Ardivilla)