Featuring Mik Gaspay, Jeanne Jalandoni, and O.M. France Viana
Guest curated by Patricia Cariño Valdez
Saturday, November 3rd - December 15th, 2018
Within the last several years, chefs and foodies from around the country have hailed Filipino cooking as the “next big food trend.” Although, trendify-ing a cuisine allows it to enter into the larger cultural consciousness, it also raises the question: A trend for whom? It is a label that often appears only on “ethnic” cuisine or non-white food, and classifying it as such dismisses the historical nuances and communities that develop it. For many, a trend is not new or alien; it is familiar and the norm. In Super Sarap, three artists Mik Gaspay, Jeanne Jalandoni, and O.M. France Viana revisit commonplace objects and food within Filipino cooking. Through sculpture and photography, the artists elicit personal and collective memories and offer cultural connections that go beyond the Philippine diaspora.
Mik Gaspay’s artistic practice aims to understand our material culture. He examines mass produced objects and explores it in relation to capitalism’s effects on migration and assimilation, class, and identity. In Super Sarap, he recalls the prominence of the large, decorative wooden spoon and fork sculptures hanging in Filipino kitchens. Playing with scale and texture, Gaspay uses a faux, wood-grain-patterned textile to construct a delicate, pillar-sized replica. Jeanne Jalandoni also utilizes textile to evoke memory of home by making “objects of comfort.” Using soft and plush material, she creates covetable toy rice cookers. In the exhibition, she also premieres a series of quilts that stitch together the ingredients to create traditional Filipino dishes. With a keen focus on food is O.M. France Viana’s Color Palate series, where minimalist photography looking like extraterrestrial landscapes reveal themselves to be Filipino ice cream —purple ube, green avocado, pink guava. Viana’s vibrant neon “UBE” sign seduces with an intense violet color natural to the purple yam, ubiquitous in Filipino and South East Asian desserts.
The exhibition title, Super Sarap fuses both English and Tagalog together, to hold multiple meanings. It can convey something that is extremely delicious, an expression of excitement and affirmation. It can also imply an exaggeration in terms of scale: something that is beyond, powerful, large, and exceeding the norm. In thinking about the transformation of foreign to familiar, specifically the indigenization of food, Manila-Born Food historian Doreen Gamboa Fernandez’s (1934-2002) cites that Filipinos sprinkle patis (fermented fish sauce) on foreign dishes or carry with them when they travel to “‘tame’ the alien.” Artists in Super Sarap play with these definitions and mutate symbols, making them both strange and familiar, challenging the expectations of cultural norms.
Patricia Cariño Valdez is an independent curator based in Oakland, CA. Along with curating the group exhibition Super Sarap at Gallery 6/67 in Santa Ana, CA, Valdez is also currently working with University of New Mexico professor Szu-Han Ho and is supporting the upcoming exhibitions and public programs at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA. She is part of Casa de Palomitas, a collaborative research and writing project with her partner Cesar Valdez. From 2016 to 2018, she served as the Curator and Director of Public Programs at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. Her curatorial projects have been held at the San Francisco State University, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (San Francisco, CA), Asian Contemporary Arts Consortium (San Francisco, CA), Oakland Museum of California, Pro Arts (Oakland, CA), California College of the Arts (San Francisco, CA), and numerous independent galleries and art spaces in the Bay Area. Valdez has participated as a speaker and panelist at the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco, CA), Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, Living Right Exchange (San Francisco, CA), Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA), Central Features Contemporary (Albuquerque, NM), and among others. In 2016, Valdez was a participant in the Independent Curators International Curatorial Intensive in Manila, Philippines. She was born in Manila and grew up along the West Coast of the U.S. Valdez earned a BA in History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley and an MA in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts. https://www.patriciacarinovaldez.com/
Mik Gaspay was born in Quezon City, Philippines and lives and works in San Francisco, CA. His work reinterprets and recontextualizes the form of found objects to suss out questions of meaning, status and value. Gaspay received his MFA from California College of the Arts in 2011. He has had a solo exhibition at Alter Space Gallery in San Francisco. He has also participated in various group shows in museums and spaces including the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco, CA), Bass & Reiner Gallery (San Francisco, CA), SOMArts (San Francisco, CA), Center for Art + Thought (Chicago, IL), Art Gallery at the University of Hawaii in Hilo, and WhiteBox Gallery (New York, NY). Gaspay was awarded a commission by the Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco for a permanent public art installation in San Francisco Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square Bridge. http://mikgaspay.com/
Jeanne F. Jalandoni is a New York City-based artist, who works primarily with oil paint and textile. Her work explores visually defining bicultural identity through examining her Filipino heritage and experiences growing up as a 2nd generation American. She received her BFA from New York University with a concentration in painting. Her solo shows include Bicultural Identities & Histories at (Little Underground Gallery | Jefferson Market Library (New York, NY) and The Next Generation: Jeanne Jalandoni at Berkshire Art Museum (North Adams, MA). Jalandoni has participated in numerous group shows in New York City and in Berlin, Germany, and Paris, France. In 2018, Jalandoni was an artist-in-residence at 36 Chase & Barns Residency (North Adams, MA; affiliated with Gallery 6/67, (Santa Ana, CA). She is a current artist-in-residence at Con Artist Collective (New York, NY). https://cargocollective.com/jeannefjalandoni
O.M. France Viana is a conceptual multimedia artist, working in photography, painting, collage, video and installation. Her artworks interrogate the semiotics of color, the inner experiences of meditation and mindfulness, and Filipino American identity as expressed through Radical Hospitality. She received an MFA in Studio Art and BA from Mills College. Born in Manila, Philippines, she studied art in Switzerland and Spain before moving to California. She founded the Diviana Gallery, the first gallery entirely dedicated to fine art photography in Manila. In the Bay Area, she has exhibited at the San Francisco Art Institute, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Mills Museum (Oakland, CA), SOMArts (San Francisco, CA), Pro Arts (Oakland, CA) and Embark Gallery (San Francisco, CA). She guest curated exhibitions at the Dominican University Gallery. Active in the Asian American community, she is former board member of the Center for Asian American Media, current board member of Philippine International Aid and received a “100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S.” award from the Filipina Women’s Network. http://www.omfrancestudio.com/