Pearls for Simeona
Presented by ANNEX LA at SIZED
619 N. Western Ave, Los Angeles.
ANNEX LA is pleased to announce its participation in SIZED with a presentation of works by Philippine-born, Los Angeles-based artist Cirilo Domine on view from Tuesday, June 15 to Sunday, June 27, 2021 at 619 N. Western Ave, Los Angeles. To schedule an appointment, visit www.sized.studio.
Domine’s practice weaves together themes of nature, queerness, ornament and race through the intricate and intimate working of various organic materials. Bamboo, elm-tree twigs, indigo-dyed linen, handmade paper, algae ash and natural inks processed from walnuts and beetles are just a few of the materials the artist uses, producing an extensive body of work that ranges from sculpture to tapestry to ceramic.
His works point to an exchange and reciprocation to the many cultures and spheres he is part of. By recognizing and subsequently negotiating absences in history, Domine consciously translates (and even mistranslates) various cultural systems, tropes and forms in order to create new subjectivities.
At times his works even take on quasi-performative, -wearable or -functional roles. In his series of works titled Inheritance for example, techniques such as crochet and basket making that the artist had learned through observing community elders while growing up in the Philippines, were applied to create crocheted jockstraps and heat-bent bamboo crowns that are wearable allusions, or even analogies, to the artist’s concepts of miscegenation and his own cultural inheritance.
In his ongoing, multi-media performance series still. here. now. here, Domine is inspired by the local patois of the Queer community in the Philippines, who deliberately manipulate English into their own shared subversive language of resistance, as well as immigrant community’s tendency to misspell words based on their phonetic pronunciation. In a body of work that that includes ink drawing, tapestry, ceramic, and functional and wearable objects, Domine stretches and overlaps various words, creating new meaning and new words all together, mimicking both the purposeful and mistaken use of language as an identity signal in intra-community and cross-cultural communication.
In his most recent work, Domine reclaims the pearl as a personal adornment for the Queer community. Pearls for Simeona is a series of pearl necklaces composed of Keshi, or non-nucleated, pearls. These tiny, irregularly shaped pearls result from mishaps during the pearl culturing process when a piece of mantle muscle prematurely slips off a mother pearl.
Theoretically, a Keshi pearl could be considered more valuable than the commonly revered round, Akoya, or nucleated, pearl; not only because they are composed of solid nacre and have higher luster than the Akoya, but also because the pearl industry is undertaking myriad efforts to improve culturing techniques so that Keshi pearls do not occur, effectively making them even more rare than they already are.
The collection of pearl necklaces began as a tribute to the artist’s grandmother Simeona, whose frugality and resourcefulness left an indelible mark on the artist and has often informed his experience as an immigrant to the US. Domine begins by painstakingly arranging the miniscule Keshi into various adjacent color gradients that pulsate from creamy whites to milky grays and from deep golden browns to pale yellows, choosing uneven and oddly shaped pearls that vary in sizes that range from 3-7 mm. The pearls are then strung together in corral, mustard or garnet-colored silk thread and finished with a 14k gold handmade hook clasp.
The result is the antithesis of the long-established aesthetic of the diminutive white pearl necklace as seen on women of the upper-class for centuries, from Vermeer’s 1664 painting Women with a Pearl Necklace to Rene Russo in Tin Cup, 1996. By shifting our gaze to the more atypical, less commercial Keshi, Domine reverses traditional consumer-value conditions away from the identically-shaped strand of white pearls towards a melody of difference, variation and even deviation.
The repertoire of pearl necklaces has grown to include unusual and unique pearls from around the world including baroque and semi-baroque pearls; Japanese and Vietnamese Akoya pearls; Golden pearls from the Philippines and Indonesia; and pearls from the vast region of French Polynesia and Fiji, sourced from contemporary pearl cultivation practices or disassembled from antique jewelry containing natural pearls.
In Pearls for Simeona, Domine strings together a beautiful analogy between these long-rejected, “bottom of the barrel pearls” and the collective experience of “the other”, extending beyond the Queer community and addressing subtexts of (un)desirability behind skin color, hair texture, socioeconomic status and more.
Cirilo Domine received his BA from UCLA (1993) and his MFA from UC Irvine (1996). He has had one-person exhibitions at Deepriver, Commonwealth and Council and has been included in group shows at M&B Gallery, the MAK Center at the Schindler House, Pinta Dos/Philippine Expressions Gallery, Huntington Botanical Gardens, Plug-In Gallery and Exit Art.
ANNEX LA is a series of exhibitions dedicated to the applied arts. Launched by Jay Ezra Nayssan in 2018, ANNEX LA has exhibited over 120 visual artists who have embraced a broader, more interdisciplinary intention to making.
SIZED is an exhibition and platform of works for the home and life produced by the multidisciplinary creative studio OFFSITE.STUDIO. On view from Tuesday, June 15 to Sunday June 27, SIZED will feature objects from over 40 collaborators, curated by OFFSITE.STUDIO Founder and Creative Director Alexander May.
Participants: 1000 Incorporated, Adam Silverman, ANNEX LA with Cirilo Domine, ARCANA: Books on the Arts, Atelier MVM by Matthias Vriens, Bri Williams, Cactus Store, Candice Romanelli, Casa Ahorita, Commune Design, Counter-Space, Dana Arbib, Eric N. Mack, Hooz, Ian Markell, JF Chen, Jordan Wolfson, Keita Matsunaga, Kenneth Morehouse, Kentaro Kawabata, Luka Sabbat, Luke Haeger, Lykke Li, Martina Tiefenthaler & Gian Gisiger, Masaomi Yasunaga, Matt Paweski, Mia Moretti, Michael Bargo, Michēle Lamy for OWENSCORPFURNITURE, NFS, No Sesso, Permanent Collection, Princess Gollum, Rewire, Roger Herman, Ronnie Sassoon, Ryan Preciado, Saunders, Shiprock Santa Fe, Shoshi Watanabe X OFFSITE.STUDIO, Skylar Haskard, Sophie Buhai, Stefan White, Sterling ruby / S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA., Studio ShamshirI X John Williams, Sumner, Syng, The Tropics INC, The Window, Tienda X, TIWA SELECT, Tomohisa Obana, Vanessa Beecroft,VDL House and Residences, Waka Waka, West Adams & Co, YOLA Mezcal