binhi at buhol features new paintings by Santos as well as pieces related to her tattoo practice. In her paintings, drawings and ceramics Santos explores her feelings of a hybrid identity through a mythological creature from the folklore of the Phillippines. The asuangembodies multiplicity in its many representations: a shape-shifting vampire; a witch; undefined and undefinable in gender, age and other Western paradigms of identity; and most intriguing, is its ability to split or divide itself in half and reassemble again, shifting from human-like forms to florae and back again. This power manifests asadaptability, resilience, survival and growth.
In other paintings, the asuang appears as specific florae such as the yucca plant or travellers palm. Santos also employs an evolved form of the asuangin works that feature disembodied parts of the creature. In fluid shroud (rosal in strata) (2020) a black form floats in the middle of the canvas. It appears to ooze and spill wax-like. The form takes shape in tendril-like fingers from which emerge new life in the form of white blossoms; the gardenia, a flower with a captivating fragrance of which Santos holds a deep sensorial body memory of her Filipinx heritage. Rendered in the artist’s familiar inky palette of black and shades of grey, thelandscapes blend imagined and real places. The backgrounds are painted in pastel hues of yellows, pinks, purples, greens and indigo, becoming spaces that are unplaceable and unfixed in linear time.
In binhi at buhol Marigold Santos weaves the enduring essence of personal empowerment, resilience and joy into the once fearsome folkloric creature of the asuang. Through the evolution of this once terrifying creature, Santos is able to translate the complicated experience of loss, grief and rebirth that accompanies living as an immigrant in diaspora. As the asuang travels through her canvases sprouting flowers that haunt with deep memories of scent, imagined and real places brought together as dreamscapes and the mythic divided yet united figure, the viewer is invited to explore the fragmented experience of immigration and one way that lived existence can be navigated.
–Maeve Hanna / art writer
Marigold Santos was born in the Philippines, and immigrated with her family to Canada in 1988. She pursues an inter-disciplinary art practice that examines lived experience and storytelling, presented within the otherworldly. Her work explores self-hood and identity that embraces multiplicity, fragmentation and empowerment, as informed by experiences of movement and migration. She holds a BFA from the University of Calgary, an MFA from Concordia University, and is a recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec. Recent exhibitions include MALAGINTO at the Montreal Arts Interculturels (Montreal, 2019), SURFACE TETHER at the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton, 2019), MALAGINTO at the Dunlop Gallery (Regina, 2019), and Relations: Painting and Diaspora at Fondation Phi (Montreal, 2020). This past year, Marigold was one of the five finalists shortlisted for the 2020 MNBAQ Contemporary Art Award.
We have designed a new Online Viewing Room to accompany this exceptional exhibition. For the unforeseeable future JHG will remain open By Appointment Only. Using this platform and approach, we can continue with our planned exhibition schedule while ensuring that the health and safety of our artists, collectors, clients and staff is a top priority.
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