Homegrown: Jaime Gubaton


Barely existing in this densely populated metropolis, wrought in sheer pessimism, confronted with fallacies, suffered by drudgeries, a painter has to do what he only knows and what he does best–to depict alternate realities; one that uplifts the spirits in a virtual realm on canvas, and in the words of award-winning artist Jaime Gubaton in a “surreal-without-the-savage” manner. Reprising this inherent artistic commitment Gubaton sought to overcome even his own artistic predicament by developing a visual style and created unique ethereal and endearing locales.

On surface, marked by his signature layers as basic foreground in featuring his chosen subjects, Gubaton’s works seem like mere makeshift abodes with protruding balconies, curving balustrades and intricate grills. On odd size canvases, induced like paper cut molds of odd but varied geometric patterns, ever the observant, Gubaton has crafted timeless elegies that reveal such visions of the possible and able.

With remnants of his previous brushstrokes–the traffic light continues to blink clamoring for better humanity and progress, his pigeons are more at home along light posts defying electrical hazard for comfort than their boxed holes. Growing up in the city Gubaton was exposed early on with such desperate manifestations of subsistence, his paintings reminds us that one is forced to find beauty in order to endure the harshness of the metropolis. As reserved as he is in person, Gubaton’s potency lies within the persuasion of his subdued earth colors and the distinct composition of his images intensely capture themes in our everyday scenes in a concise rendered in detail.

Evident still are his jeepneys and calesas as he did many a previous canvas. Depending how one views them, they can be laudable tributes to a slowly passing period highlighting Philippine culture. They can also be a nagging cause for concern of how we failed to come up with solutions on how effective we travel to our real and mythical journeys in life.  

Positive as Gubaton’s disposition has always been, his children are fondly depicted like his own, playing in front of him, exhibiting that reserved smirk, beaming with adoring eyes that making us feel most human when all hope is lost. Meanwhile Gubaton retreats and pursues his women by favorably decorating them in organic brushstrokes employing in an aesthetic art nouveau extent. By embracing them with floral configurations he conceals their fears and assures them of their welfare and well being. Here Gubaton is most effective. 

Viewing Gubaton’s initial solo exhibition one feels the lightness of his or her being; they are sensate in appeal, scenic in visual, the feeling is almost infectious. The harder and longer you look at each piece, the deeper they heal the collective wounds of our foreboding memory and fading identity. And for Gubaton, he is just getting started.   

About the Artist

As far as he could remember, Jaime Gubaton has always been observing and putting his thoughts on paper and eventually on canvas. As a student he was already winning in art contests early on, he would even beat other students some even twice his height and age.

A Fine Arts graduate with a major in Advertising from the University of the East Caloocan in 2003, Gubaton would eventually win in bigger and more prestigious national competitions such as the PLDT-DPC National Cover Art Contest, ArtPetron National Student Art Competition, Shell National Student Art Competition, Department of Agrarian Reform On-the Spot Painting Competition, and Metrobank Art & Design Excellence Painting Category.  

For Gubaton, one must paint works that inspire in a style that has never been done before, have respect for Philippine culture and tradition, and lastly, honor your audience whoever and whatever they are in life. Such has been his artistic philosophy.

Ongoing at the Gallery Big, Homegrown is his first solo exhibition.