Issue of August 11, 2019
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Jason Montinola at BenCab’s Gallery Indigo until Sept 29
by Press release

The human mind experiences a phenomenon called apophenia, a unique capacity to cognitively fill in patterns and substances in areas where no image exists.

As we step into the darkness, our retinas adjust. The human eye is a marvel that has the strength to make sense of images in a dark room. We tiptoe across the floor according to where objects are, in our best efforts to intercept recklessness in a sea of bleakness.

As we become a friend to empty spaces and missing information, our arrogance, fueled by our knowledge and contextual prowess, overrules what is observable by the naked eye.

In “Through the Depths of Space” at BenCab Museum’s Gallery Indigo, painter Jason Montinola tests your arrogance in filling in the emptiness.

Montinola uses space as a platform to manipulate the viewer’s senses. The use of darkness as a tool to illuminate subjects has been used as a visual device as early as the 1400s. This is later on brought to mainstream use in the late 16th to 17th century.

Montinola uses this as an offshoot for his current body of work. He extrapolates the technique and merges it with abstraction and by explicitly directing what needs to be withheld.

The gratuitous use of black in Montinola’s “Altered Perspective” gives the viewer a sense of never-ending depth. Three figures in varying heights toy with man’s automatic perception of thinking in three’s: the Holy Trinity, the philosophical trichotomy, three as a sense of worldly balance, among many other things.

This preconceived notion, coupled with the play of darkness and light, assigns sacredness to the work despite the absence of its implication. Montinola’s ingenuity of withholding information relies on man’s stubborn nature to fill in the blanks.

Never a stranger to Christianity, it is instinctive to identify “Cross Line” as a religious picture: the wooden plank, the pale complexion, the loincloth, the seemingly symbolic lines, and the title. Upon closer inspection, any information regarding a holy figure is never given. An image could be as pagan as it is sacred.

Through the Depths of Space invites viewers to take hold of their power to create a narrative based on what they know. Montinola grants viewers the sovereignty to make sense of what is absent.

Museum visitors can also view Philippine Revolutionary Army and World War II Soldiers in the Philippines by Dan H. Dizon, at the Sepia Gallery.

Both exhibitions are on view until Sept. 29.

BenCab Museum is on Km. 6 Asin Road, Tuba, Metro Baguio. It is open Tuesday to Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., last entry at 5:30 p.m.

The museum is closed Mondays, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. For more details, call (074) 442-7165 or 0920-530-1954, email, or visit

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