Jade Suayan has pulled out all the stops. It’s very rare to find an artist who can match their artistic vision with technical ability, and this is one of the things that makes this show so special.
Walking into the show requires you to bend your head, entering through a parking gate pylon into a concept exhibit where the entire room has been transformed into a purple parking garage.
Despite what may seem like the overpowering use of purple, color usage and theory is impeccable at this show. Suayan uses plastic garments on some of her characters and observes translucency of materials and how hues change when passing through objects of another color. Colors of similar saturation are used in close proximity, toying with your eyes, messing with contrast, and creating a unique visual experience.
An interesting theme that carries through the exhibit is that of character selection, similar to that of a video game start up screen. It’s a design language that is subtle, but instantly identifiable to those who have seen it on screens over and over again. Alluding to another theme that has continually appeared in her work over the years: choice. Almost as a part of that subtext, the graffiti persona “SYN” also makes an appearance on one of the main walls.
Through message and through medium, the artist seems to be toying with reality. Ironically enough, reality seemed to be toying with Jade too because this show almost didn’t happen. At the height of her preparation for the show, a week before the opening day and after two months of perpetration, Taal volcano erupted. And because she lives and has her studio in close proximity to the volcano, she had to immediately evacuate, taking only two paintings with her.
But none of this prevented her from continuing the work. The evacuation center was kind enough to spare her a room where she could paint, and with the help of her boyfriend, they retrieved the rest of her equipment and unfinished pieces from her ash covered studio, brought them to the center and worked doubletime to see it through. Jade admitted that there were many moments when she really felt discouraged and was close to giving up but she manages to pull off one of the best shows in recent times, with the help of her family, her boyfriend, and the incredibly supportive team at Secret Fresh Gallery.
Nobody would have blamed her for pulling back and postponing the show. But in a way, her stepping up and taking the opportunity to come out of her shell and let the walls talk has become a testament to the unstoppable force that she is becoming. Nature’s fury has nothing on Jade Suayan or the persona that is SYN.
The show is entitled “Walls Could Talk”and is currently running in DJ Big Boy Cheng’s Secret Fresh Gallery in San Juan. See it until February 2, 2020.