‘Anecdotal Evidence’: Audrey Lukban Links the Material and Ethereal

May 17, 2024

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By 

Elle Yap

Anecdotal Evidence is the new exhibit by Audrey Lukban currently being shown at MO_Space in Bonifacio Global City. Showing at the gallery from April 27 to May 26, the works feature paintings of everyday objects depicted in new and exotic ways. 

In their write-up about the exhibit, James Luigi Tana said that Lukban’s work for this exhibit showcases her creativity and ability to create transformative works from everyday objects. 

Two of the paintings for "Anecdotal Evidence" by Audrey Lukban. Photo by Elle Yap.
Two of the paintings for “Anecdotal Evidence” by Audrey Lukban. Photo by Elle Yap.

“Through the sinuous outlines of her canvas, Lukban demonstrates looseness and expressive freedom— almost unlimited— as she continues to reimagine what the human eye can perceive,” they wrote. 

Material Worlds, Immaterial Ideas

Anecdotal Evidence paints things that can be seen in Audrey Lukban’s room in a new light. She uses typical things seen in a bedroom and plays with perspective so it can be observed freshly. 

Lukban also crafts new images out of the old ones, giving us a new frame to see them in that could add renewed meaning to their original form. Most of the exhibit contains blankets and bedsheets painted to look like clouds. They look crumpled and wrinkled in specific ways, even as the artist utilizes interesting lighting techniques to make their final form ambiguous. 

Two works for the exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
Two works for the exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
The "Anecdotal Evidence" exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
The “Anecdotal Evidence” exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
Three paintings for "Anecdotal Evidence." Photo by Elle Yap.
Three paintings for “Anecdotal Evidence.” Photo by Elle Yap.
"Bringing Heavy Rain, and Strong Winds" by Audrey Lukban. Photo by Elle Yap.
“Bringing Heavy Rain, and Strong Winds” by Audrey Lukban. Photo by Elle Yap.
Two paintings for the exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
Two paintings for the exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.

Lukban cut the painting’s canvases to mirror its look, and it serves the illusion of clouds/blankets well. Its shape and origins also means that, in certain angles and lighting, the sheets look like they have a person sleeping underneath them. It’s an added layer of rest in what appears to be objects floating around. 

Tana comments on this ambiguity directly as essential to why the paintings work. “However, whether viewed as crumpled blankets or as clusters of clouds, none of them are in reference to any particular thing. She regards this disassociation between the referent and reference as a faulty strategy in symbolism; the painting as an object stands for itself.”

Meaning in Vagueness

The centerpiece of the exhibit is a large rectangular painting called “Comfort Object.” Unlike the different cloud paintings of the exhibit, this one relates less to the sky than the others. Its meaning also appears to be more ambiguous. 

Because the others can easily be interpreted as blankets-as-clouds, “Comfort Object” pierces through as many things all at once. It can be a bed, or it can be two blankets overlaid on the floor. At certain angles, it looks like a painting of a turbulent sky. Personally, it can also look like a magic carpet flying across the air. It’s vague in a way that allows people to imprint their own meanings on it. 

"Comfort Object" by Audrey Lukban. Photo by Elle Yap.
“Comfort Object” by Audrey Lukban. Photo by Elle Yap.

However she means for it to come across, Anecdotal Evidence is impressively surreal in how it mimics everyday items and finds ways to make them transcend their ordinary beginnings. Its loose interpretations of reality allows one to get lost in their surroundings and imagine a quieter world full of endless horizons to explore.

Related reading: WATCH: Arts Serrano on the construction of meanings

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