Style/Travel Diaries

Stephanie Honrado: Illuminating the sublime in the everyday

From the clouds to scarves: ‘The reality of life can come from something so accessible’

"Assisi Sky"

Following the sold-out success of her first solo exhibition Come Stai? (How are you?) and her standout participation in the Art Fair Philippines group show Headspace, Florence-based contemporary artist Stephanie Honrado returns this month to Salcedo Private View with Ode to the Ordinary. (Vernissage is July 2, 2022, at Salcedo Private View, NEX Tower, 6786 Ayala Avenue, Makati)

The exhibition shows Honrado continuing her creative journey to capture the innate beauty of ordinary things, and the environs of her adoptive hometown of Florence. “It moves me that such depth, clarity, and wisdom about the reality of life can come from something so accessible and always available,” says Honrado.
What is interesting about these works is the manner in which she extends this notion of finding beauty in the ordinary through her variations on the same subject, as if to underscore further her obsession to unravel meaning through careful and consistent observation of a single object or scene.

“Red Scarf”

Honrado, for example, renders a single scarf in vibrant reds and blues, knotted, curled, draped, its shapes, like projective tests, opening the viewers’ mind’s eye to myriad interpretations. Also presented in this exhibition are several canvases painted in the academic tradition depicting white clouds set against the clear blue sky. Several of these works were painted en plein air or outdoors to encapsulate the “candid energy of on-site painting.”

There is indeed a certain rawness to Honrado’s images, which allows the artist through her liminal compositions to open “portals to a deepened state of awareness about daily life,” praising the efficacy of working with oil as it emits “a sense of life and atmosphere, and feeling of reality” to her works. This latest collection symbolizes the artist’s enduring passion and commitment to refining her artistic technique in the classical style.

‘Cloud formations are visually entertaining. To enjoy them means looking up and away from my own busy-ness’

The Sky series paintings depict cloud formations that the artist observed daily from her preferred spot in the Basilica di Santa Chiara, renowned for being the oldest standing church in the Gothic-Italian style in Assisi. “Cloud formations are visually entertaining. To enjoy them means looking up and away from my own busy-ness and taking a literal break from the humdrum of everyday life,” says Honrado as she comments further on “the fleeting and challenging yet comforting nature of clouds.”

The Scarf series, meanwhile, continues what is arguably Hondrado’s most recognized subject—one that she started painting in 2017 and continues in this show. Set against a weathered backdrop, the scarves were painted in varying primary colors to emphasize their stationary positions. It is in this series that Honrado “found practical applications for lessons on hue, value, and chroma, which I learned at the Academy.” The ruffled scarves hanging against a door or a wall are the artist’s deliberate renditions of “simple, functional objects to present a visual experience of pure form, color, and texture,” as she so delicately describes it.

Other works on exhibit include a series of nude oils on canvas showing the artist’s progress in academic life painting. One sees, in the varying degrees of imperfection of forms, the process of learning that the artist boldly presents—unflinching in its revelation of still burgeoning technical skill, and refreshing in its sheer honesty, as Honrado pays homage to the ordinary in ways that are anything but.

“Ode to the Ordinary” by Stephanie Honrado can be viewed until Friday, 22 July 2022, at Salcedo Auctions, NEX Tower, 6786 Ayala Avenue, Makati City. For inquiries, email info@salcedoauctions.com or call tel. no. 8823-0956 or (0917)107-5581. Follow @salcedoauctions on Instagram and Facebook for more updates.


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