FLESH AND NEEDLES
ABI DIONISIO

Ysobel Art Gallery proudly presents Abi Dionisio's seventh solo exhibition at ArtFair Philippines 2020. Equally adept at using paint and brush as needle and thread on canvas, Dionisio lays vignettes of what it is like for her to be a female artist producing work at this point in time in our country.

Like the anticipated pain which we think of when needle comes to contact with flesh, the exhibition elicits strong reactions as it focuses on the real dilemmas she faces as a woman and as an artist. It encapsulates her struggle between her givens (flesh): what she was born to, her gender, her family, the roles laid out for her as sister, daughter, partner — and the choices she makes because of her individuality and self- determination (needle).

Embroidery ties up all the elements of this exhibition — as both medium and motif. Through embroidery, Dionisio creates images of home, woman, domesticity, and varying stages of tragedy. As thread pierces through textile to build image colored thread by colored thread, experience shapes personality, as Dionisio layers images of home against the female face. Visual metaphors associated with her body of work — the female face (self, femininity), the house (home, domesticity, gender roles), and ships/disasters (journeys, will, and transformations) are created in fibrous detail. Painting the reverse of these embroideries, the artist appears to hint at the hierarchy of imperatives she is compelled to fulfill in her life.

Following in the footsteps of artistic predecessors who did so, such as Adelaida Paterno, Geraldine Javier and Marina Cruz, among others, Abi Dionisio straddles the personal, the political, and the cultural with her art. Hers is a candid confession, as it is an impassioned statement of independence for all women of this time.

- Ricky Francisco