Painter Danilo Arriola shows his fascination and skill with chiaroscuro—that painting technique highlighting the stark contrast between light and dark—in his third solo exhibit, titled A Place in the Sun, which is now on view at the ArtistSpace gallery of the Ayala Museum in Makati City until September 6, 2017.
In a statement, ArtistSpace noted how, in A Place in the Sun, Arriola “applies this Renaissance technique onto objects, both precious and ordinary—an antique chalice, a jade sculpture, deformed candles, old bottles of Choco-Vim, the humble singkamas.”
“There is something about the detritus of ages that fascinates—even obsesses—Danilo Arriola. He is a voracious accumulator of artifacts: animal skulls and ceramics, a crown and some fruit, all have a place in his cabinet of curiosities. Is it the interesting forms that draw his attention, or possibly their worn patina?” it asked.
“Hindi ko rin alam kung bakit,” the 50-year-old Arriola said in the statement. “Pero mas gusto ko ‘yon, na hindi ko alam.”
According to ArtistSpace, Arriola embraces the enigmatic, and observes each object intensely, allowing himself to be consumed by the daily routine of looking.
“Like the objects in his vignettes, he is no stranger to darkness. Effaced by ailment, colorblindness, and a pall of self-doubt, he has long struggled with the sentence of invisibility, the curse of being unseen, or refusing to be seen,” it said.
“Through painting, he challenges the shadows. Chiaroscuro is a battle on canvas: light interrogating dark. The meticulous process demands weeks of keen concentration for each work. Here, in the half-light, he strains to look at every minute detail. Scratches and decay, the intricate play of light, every layer of rust and dust, all are rendered,” it added.
“If looking is a form of loving, then, perhaps, the tenacity of observation is Arriola’s way of rescuing these objects. As he immortalizes them in oil, he grants them the tender gaze he had once denied himself,” the gallery said.
“With the discipline of his practice, he has slowly learned to look at himself with more kindness, the way he does the objects he paints. In the fragile dance of light and dark, Arriola draws to the surface the beauty and mystery, not only of the objects, but also within him. The clarity with which he sees things, he has also brought, finally, into his own world,” it added.
Based in Pasig City, Arriola studied architecture at the University of Santo Tomas, and worked as a designer and perspectivist in Manila, Singapore, and Hong Kong. His formative years in painting were under the mentorship of Fernando Sena in Manila and Wee Shoo Leung in Singapore.
In 2004, he decided to pursue art and took the Intensive Drawing course under Daniel Graves at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. With the support of then-Sen. Jamby Madrigal and other private benefactors, he completed the intermediate program in 2007, then he moved on to the advanced-painting level as a scholar of the academy itself.
His first solo exhibition, Chiaroscurist, opened at ArtistSpace in 2015. In 2016 his works from the collection of architect Daniel Lichauco were featured in a second solo at the Yuchengco Museum, also in Makati City.