Today in New York's Tyler Rollins Fine Art gallery, the Manila-based photographer Tom Epperson opens his first US solo exhibition billed 12 Below. It's a series of stunning images that involves different objects, from the legendary pilikmata ng kambing (you put it in the thing before you stick it...oh you know the drill, and that makes you legendary) to the iconic jolens of our childhood (toy marbles, not the Jolina doll), trapped in blocks of ice. It's both nostalgia and fear of a possible devastating future. The inspiration for the photographs was a documentary about the possibility of another Ice Age. What would happen if it were to occur in a few years? What objects would the next civilization find?
“I decided to focus my story on one family," Epperson explains in his artist's statement, "a Filipino family, and some of their most treasured belongings, most of which existed elsewhere, while some were uniquely inherent in the Philippines.” Frozen for Tom's camera include a fan old ladies bring to church (shown with rosary), a bag of daing, sampaguita flowers, the balisong, and a Pacquiao shirt.
12 Below is part of the gallery's continuing focus on Southeast Asian contemporary art. The painter Ronald Ventura will be showing his new works at Tyler Rollins in September.
Tom's frozen delights. Clockwise from top left: sampaguita lei, Pacquiao shirt and pilikmata ng kambing.