Art matter: GAS

The interior of Gravity Art Space featuring its inauguralexhibit ‘ALCOHOL’

Why does art matter? In distressing times, we see more value in art. It is escapist, but also restorative, evolutionary as it is revolutionary. As John Tusa once wrote, “The arts matter, because they are universal; because they are non-material; because they deal with daily experience in a transforming way; because they question the way we look at the world; because they offer different explanations of that world…”

The Filipinos revel in art. In fact, Metro Manila’s art scene is booming despite the pandemic or maybe even as a result of it. We’ve seen the rise of art movements like the “green arts” advocacy of studio Green Artz, which promotes sustainability. There is also an increase in hobby artists or people who do art at home purely for the fun of it. And of course, there’s the presence of countless galleries, design shops, museums, and other art spaces scattered all over the capital region.

The health crisis may have forced various establishments to close down, but there are also new businesses and places emerging from this unfortunate situation. Gravity Art Space (GAS), a contemporary art gallery in Quezon City (QC) that recently opened, is one of these institutions. 

With the realization that the major key players in the industry are saturated in Makati, QC was the obvious location for Indy Paredes to set up shop. The University of the Philippines (UP) alumnus took the pandemic as an opportunity to harness his passion.

Art was his means to help people bounce back from the COVID-19 crisis. And so, Indy with the support of his colleagues went to put up a hub for artists and enthusiasts in QC, a city home to many artists, and his birthplace.

Indy has extensive knowledge in the industry as he had worked as a coordinator, exhibition designer, and manager at several galleries. Among his biggest projects was one from his alma mater, the UP Sentro ng Industriya ng Likha at Kultura (SILK) where he did extensive research within the five-kilometer area surrounding the Diliman campus. Working on this, he saw the potential of the location as an emerging art hotspot.

‘The arts matter because they give us a mutual space where we can talk to one another about the most important things to us. It can turn strangers into old friends with lots in common.’

—Maryrose Flanigan

With his experience in art-making and handling, he gained confidence in putting up the art space. With the aid of his partners Serafin Matias Jr. and Melany Mae Matias, they bumped into a friend’s restaurant building earlier this year. As Jake Jake Peñaflor, an architect and art enthusiast wholeheartedly offered his space for Indy, what was once the Nanka Japanese Steakhouse, at 1810 Mother Ignacia Ave, QC, is now the gallery GAS.

GAS is believed to be the “next big thing” that artists, curators, and collectors will talk about. Indy with his wide network is now looking forward to materializing their plans and program exhibits for new and upcoming contemporary artists.

Currently, it houses an exhibit titled “ALCOHOL” that brings together 33 contemporary artists composed of both emerging and established ones. As its name suggests, the inaugural exhibition is a collection of works by artists as well as Indy’s friends as they express their sentiments on the topic of alcohol. The pieces, in the most basic sense, deals with alcohol from the rubbing kind that keeps the coronavirus at bay to beverage and trippy drinking sessions that have helped us dull our senses to escape the mind-and-body-twisting COVID-era. The inaugural exhibit is until April 17, Saturday.

The new art space will soon host exhibitions like an all-woman presentation discussing self-love, and an exhibition that shows cultural dialogue with a Malaysian gallery collaborating with GAS. There are other exciting programs lined up.

Source: Manila Bulletin (