Subconscious Art: Thrive Unveils ‘Hamuok’ and ‘Nocturne’

By Mariela Angella Oladive

Thrive Art Gallery invited visitors to explore the depths of the subconscious with the opening of its latest exhibits, “Hamuok” by Roland Llarena and “Nocturne” by Kristoffer Brasileño, on June 22.

The two exhibits showcased a dreamlike space where reality and dreams converged, offering a vivid exploration of the human psyche through the lens of two Ilonggo artists.

Hamúok: The Deep Slumber of Roland Llarena

Roland Llarena, a full-time artist based in Molo, Iloilo City, brought a unique perspective with “Hamúok,” a term from the Hiligaynon language meaning “deep slumber.”

Llarena’s work meticulously visualized the intersection between waking reality and the subconscious, inspired by the constant bombardment of news about war, environmental destruction, and societal anxieties. His exhibition documented how these external stimuli bled into his subconscious, resulting in unexpected and evocative forms.

“Hamúok [My artworks] is about myself and what I usually see in the news,” Llarena explained. “Hamúok represents my positive and negative experiences that sometimes appear in my dreams, waking me up. Every day, I visualize and draw these visions, capturing the impact they have on me.”

Llarena’s pieces blended the abstract and the tangible, incorporating diverse mediums to express his ideas. His work included familiar images reimagined through unconventional material like his work titled “slipper game,” which were slippers crafted from stainless sheets, metals, and automotive paint in varying sizes. Another interesting piece was “Burador ni Juan,” a kite installation made from the same materials as the slippers.

Intriguingly, these pieces were arranged in a manner that made the kite look like a plane, while the metal slippers, pierced with rods, circled around a large cone-shaped structure. This configuration evoked a powerful visual narrative, which some might interpret as a commentary on ongoing conflicts, such as the war in Israel.

On the other hand, it might simply be an allusion to the childhood memory or dream of flying a kite. Through his innovative use of materials and thought-provoking arrangements, Llarena challenged viewers to explore deeper meanings and personal interpretations within his work along with his dreamlike abstract patterns on canvas.

With a background in architecture, Llarena’s earlier works reflected his meticulous attention to detail. He had been recognized with a special citation during the 2018 Metrobank Art and Design Excellence Award and participated in the Linangan Art Residency in 2021.

His exhibitions in Iloilo and Manila had solidified his reputation as a dynamic and introspective artist.

Nocturne: The Dreamscapes of Kristoffer Brasileño

Parallel to “Hamúok,” Kristoffer Brasileño’s “Nocturne” invited audiences to traverse the ethereal landscapes of dreams.

Drawing inspiration from Surrealism, Brasileño’s work blurred the boundaries between imagination and reality. His dreamscapes were filled with symbolic elements and muses veiled in fabrics, set against enigmatic backdrops that reflected the wilderness of the unconscious mind.

Brasileño, a painter and university instructor at the Digital Media and Interactive Arts Program of Central Philippine University, combined traditional and digital media to create realistic and representational paintings. He explained that “Nocturne” related to themes such as dreams, fantasy, surrealism, figures, and more highlighting the core of his artistic exploration.

His work delved into cultural identities, with most of his portraits showcasing women from various races. With residences in Thailand (2017, 2023), Vietnam (2019), and South Korea (2023), Brasileño brought a global perspective to his art.

“Nocturne” marked his third solo exhibition, spanning various phases of his artistic journey, from early sketches and studies during his gap year after nursing school to his fine arts education at the University of San Agustin, culminating in his latest works.

“Hamuok” and “Nocturne” presented a compelling dialogue between two distinct yet interconnected visions of the subconscious. Llarena’s introspective journey through personal and societal anxieties contrasted with Brasileño’s exploration of dreamlike fantasy, creating a rich tapestry of thought-provoking art.

Thrive Art Gallery, an experimental art space at The Shops at Atria, Ayala Malls in Iloilo City, hosted the exhibitions. The gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 3 PM to 8 PM, and Saturday to Sunday from 12 PM to 8 PM.

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