By Arvee Gomez
There are many ways fossils are discovered, and one of them is for the animal to have fallen to a thick body of black asphalt called a ‘tar pit’. Palaeontology has proven that tar pits are notorious by nature, crude bitumen leaking into the surface, where animals are incapable of freeing themselves from the dark void once ensnared. Even ancient gargantuan animals, such as mammoths, die from starvation, exhaustion, or exposure from the elements, and are discovered as fossils thousands of years after. It is this inevitable-like, inescapable pull to the viscous liquid, that spawned Tokwa Peñaflorida’s "Tar Pits", brought on by the feeling of being ‘stuck’ in one place, vulnerable and helpless.
Tar Pits is Peñaflorida’s third solo exhibition show, and his comeback after a long hiatus. Using dark flowing lines, masterful bleeds, and watercolour washes, his works depict the inner demons that are invisible to the eye, but does not warrant its non-existence. He chose the fairer sex as the subjects for his works in this specific exhibit, for he felt that women has naturally expressive faces, and soft curves and angles that befits this particular art style, apart from his other one. He admits on being an avid Japanese animation series watcher, and is partial to the Action, Adventure and Fantasy genres, such as the likes of the Japanese superhero series Boku no Hero Academia and the classic 1974 Heidi, Girl of the Alps, based on the 1880 Swiss novel by Johanna Spyri. He believes that his oeuvre is influenced by many things he is fond of such as anime and works of art from various sources and artists, one of which is the English illustrator Arthur Rackham.
Despite its dark undertone and theme, Peñaflorida hopes that his works under Tar Pits will provide comfort to those who are combatting their invisible tormentors, for one’s struggle should not be generally categorized as too easy, too hard, or even too petty to be ignored and declared and dismissed as “another dramatic episode”. Those demons exists and his works are the fossils, the physical representation of these bodiless and non-physical pain that each and every one of us, unbeknownst or not, in one way or another, has been subjected to. He revealed that on the last minute, he decided to throw in the pages of his private journal, saying: “If I am going to reveal myself, why not go all out?” It takes a considerable and remarkable amount of courage for an artist to be bold in revealing their own personal demons. An artist like his mother, Penaflorida openly outlines an artist’s susceptible vulnerability and paves a way to healing his own misgivings and others’ as well.
Tar Pits can be viewed at the Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery, 2135 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati. For further information and inquiries, contact 09053091846 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit their website www.vinylonvinylgallery.com and social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram: vinylonvinyl.