Two years after the pandemic, Joe resurfaces his creative dragons from a long hiatus in Pinyin, a translation of the artist’s unique affinity with the Chinese Dragon, both an ally and muse. The Dragon has called Joe on many occasions, and every time, it has brought the artist immense fortune, such as winning Grand Prize in the International Olympic Committee’s Sport and Art Contest during the Beijing Olympics of 2018, with his sculpture “Dancing Rings”, an interpretation of the mighty Chinese Dragon.
In Pinyin, Joe relieves moments from his Olympic success, by creating a series of paintings and stainless steel sculptures that expresses a unique affinity with this cultural icon and tradition. Interpreting the Chinese Dragon in dance, twelve paintings in round and edged canvases and a mix of eight sculptures bring the icon to life in its various iterations. Together, they form a festival of fiery colors typically found in traditional dragon dances – green for a good harvest, yellow for reverence, gold or silver for prosperity, and red for excitement and good fortune.
Pinyin is a significant come-back exhibition for the artist for achieving two milestones – first, it being an innovation of Joe’s 2020 Ayala Museum exhibit piece “Pinyin”, as it combines his signature geometric abstraction style with his Fusion technique on canvas (binding metal on canvas); and secondly, for introducing two dragon stainless steel sculptures depicting dragons in pursuit of the “Pearl of Wisdom”.
Other unique features of the exhibit are Joe’s use of a metallic palette and the fusion of shiny, reflective metallic pieces on canvas that complements Asian beliefs of good luck; and the deliberate use of a museum canvas wrap instead of framing to “unleash” the dragon from the canvas.
Through Pinyin, the artist not only shares a personal relationship with this cultural icon that has brought him great renown, but also, imparts a sense of wonder and awe to his audiences. The exhibit launches with a special dragon dance performance on Sunday, November 12, at 6PM at Nami Art Gallery, SMDC Fame Mall Mayflower St., EDSA, Mandaluyong.