‘Rituals of Recovery’: Honing into the Practices of Self-Care

May 16, 2024

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By 

Elle Yap

Shannah Orencio’s Rituals of Recovery is her new exhibit at the Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery, debuting on May 4, 2024. Orencio paints flowers in different perspectives, focusing on creating a colorful mirage of flora piled on top of each other. 

The exhibit, as described by Carlomar Daoana, provides a view of the natural world that embodies the needs of humanity well: routine and the need for recovery in discovering the meaning of the rituals we create. 

Shannah Orencio's "Rituals of Recovery" exhibit view. Photo by Elle Yap.
Shannah Orencio’s “Rituals of Recovery” exhibit view. Photo by Elle Yap.
A corner of Shannah Orencio's "Rituals of Recovery" exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
A corner of Shannah Orencio’s “Rituals of Recovery” exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
Shannah Orencio's "Rituals of Recovery" exhibit view. Photo by Elle Yap.
Shannah Orencio’s “Rituals of Recovery” exhibit view. Photo by Elle Yap.

“Caring for something—or somebody—is a species of ritual,” they said. “After all, to attend to the well-being of another living being takes time, repetition, attentiveness. This attentiveness to another being—to fully exercise one’s capacity to care—is a ritual of recovery.”

Flowery Effects

The paintings render this collage-like look where they seem to exist on top of the other in a messy compression. Orencio reportedly would take the flowers that she pruned in her garden and would use that disconnected chaotic array of flora as inspiration/models for the artworks she created. 

In a strange way, the works present a careful craft not just in the art of painting, but in gardening. One has to be deliberate when pruning stems, leaves, and flowers so that it looks aesthetically cohesive without affecting the growth of the plant for the future. And one doesn’t just throw away the leftovers. It can be recycled to become compost that returns its nutrients back to the environment. 

Two paintings by Shannah Orencio. Photo by Elle Yap.
Two paintings by Shannah Orencio. Photo by Elle Yap.
Two paintings by Shannah Orencio. Photo by Elle Yap.
Two paintings by Shannah Orencio. Photo by Elle Yap.
Three paintings by Shannah Orencio. Photo by Elle Yap.
Three paintings by Shannah Orencio. Photo by Elle Yap.
Close-up look at one of the paintings for  "Rituals of Recovery." Photo by Elle Yap.
Close-up look at one of the paintings for “Rituals of Recovery.” Photo by Elle Yap.
Paintings by Shannah Orencio for the exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
Paintings by Shannah Orencio for the exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.

Rituals of Recovery posits that even these pruned portions serve a wider purpose of precision in nature. The way that Orencio paints them—stacked up on top of each other, wrinkled but vibrant—presents itself not as detritus but as an explosion of nature’s variety, beautiful even in its cutoff state. 

The oil on canvas works also add a sense of dimension to the flowers. The technique shown in Orencio’s brushstrokes gives the flowers a sense of regal quality even as they appear scattered along the canvas. It pulses with life even in death. 

A Documentation of Responsibility

Daoana in their write-up said that Orencio’s work highlights the importance of routine as a way of cleansing and keeping our internal spaces and thoughts to be at peace with each other. They compare the pruning of the flowers to a morning walk or a cup of coffee: practices that keep our spiritual minds grounded. 

One of the paintings up close. Photo by Elle Yap.
One of the paintings up close. Photo by Elle Yap.

In that sense, it’s curious to see Rituals of Recovery as a way of documenting the byproduct of our practices to find ourselves again, day in and day out. It feels like seeing parts of ourselves that we’ve outgrown, parts of ourselves that we don’t need anymore despite their usefulness in the past. 

It highlights the beauty of those outmoded parts. But it also shows the necessity of pruning them: these flowers are overgrown, aging, and preventing it from achieving its full potential. It’s the gardener’s responsibility to ensure that these parts don’t overwhelm and keep the plant from adapting. 

Close-up of one of the paintings for "Rituals of Recovery." Photo by Elle Yap.
Close-up of one of the paintings for “Rituals of Recovery.” Photo by Elle Yap.


Rituals of Recovery gives us a visual metaphor of the need to create daily practices that calm our interior selves to continue our proper growth as human beings. It’s also a beautiful documentation of nature as a whole, that lovely things can exist even in the byproducts of nature as a whole. Nothing is wasted, and nobody is a waste.

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