HomeExhibitions2020 ExhibitionsI AM MY OWN WORLD


Paul John Cabanalan

January 4 - 17, 2020


In his previous exhibitions, PJ Cabanalan gave visual expression to his hometown Dorog and its surrounding environs. Accomplished through a lush, all-over approach, his paintings were not direct depictions of scenery but interpretations rich with and nurtured by the images of the countryside: the cyclical, almost mythical aspects of the rural, the agricultural, and the communal.

For his solo exhibition, I Am My Own World, which opens the new year for Art Verité, Cabanalan directly engages with the mythos of his internal reality expressed as nebulous symbols, totems, and figures of thoughts and feelings. 

A retreat to this internal realm, Cabanalan asserts, is both an act of creation (“I create a world in my mind where I can escape from the cruel, harsh truth”) as well as an act of will (“In this world, I am the ruler and I can do what I want”). In this creative determinism, the artist conceptually bypasses the visible world in order for the viewer to have a more authentic encounter of the artist’s soul.

Just like the chapters of a book or the passages of a musical composition, the exhibit is divided into three kingdoms, each bearing its particular slant of emotion: “Kingdom of True Bliss,” “Kingdom of Neutral Remorse,” and “Kingdom of Golden Darkness.” These three kingdoms, though united by the teeming complexity of the artist’s style, are literally and figuratively colored by their respective mood, temperament, and sensibility.

In his every work, what the viewer enters into is a place nestled in the folds the artist’s brain. Taken collectively, the paintings portray the richness of an individual’s range of feeling, of how one can shift from exuberant happiness to crushing grief. Stepping into the gallery space, it’s as if the viewer has gained access to the sanctum sanctorum of the artist’s being.   

I Am My Own World is Cabanalan’s contemplation of the limitlessness of the artist’s imagination shaped by the ways in which it fashions a world parallel to and autonomous from the one we inhabit, offering solace and refuge from the crushing weight of reality. The viewer may find a sense of escape looking at the works but, crucially, he is also offered a kind of vision which he may direct at the world as he seeks out insight and clarification. 

– Carlomar Arcangel Daoana