The Possibilities of Impossible Realities: The Creations of Emmanuel “Eman” Servito *

family-tree
Eman Servito’s “Family Tree”

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche allegedly said that, “Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest.”

In other words, the work of art is considered as a portion of the existing or the present reality. However, the presentation of such reality is rather an exaggeration, an exact replica, or distortion of the perceived reality, depending on how the artist sees that reality.

A Different Interpretation of Reality

motherchild
Mother & Child

The works of the young artist from Valenzuela City, Emmanuel “Eman” Servito, are a different take of that reality. They are, paraphrasing the words attributed to the late Irish dramatist George Bernard Shaw, but the “polished” realities, that are almost dreamlike. Hence, the title of his show Impossible Dreams, mounted at the modern art hub, The Artologist in San Juan City, Metro Manila.

The characters in his paintings are almost caricatures but that’s the beauty of them.

Their faces are almost goatish, with a prominent “V” shape on their heads, and the colors used are vibrant and very much alive that it catches one’s imagination and curiosity.

According to the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung, “Colors express the main psychic (mind) functions of man.”

Each color corresponds to a meaning, as the designer and artist Lauren Gundlach explains it in her short thesis submitted to St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.

Psychically, a person responds to the brightness or darkness of colors. It seems that colors become a sort of stimuli that affects the cognitive or mind functions of a person or even an animal.

“Cognitive psychology posits a dual system of the mind. In the first, there’s a quick response that happens in the lower levels of the mind (our gut reactions, so to speak) and then there is the second, more deliberative, thoughtful thinking that happens on top of that. Influences like color work their effects on us, to the extent that even our highest level cognition and intelligence are biased by these low level impressions,” explains Gundlach.

Hence, just for this author, the beauty of the works of Servito does not only lie on the depiction of such images but the way the artist uses color and the texture in creating and recreating these images which, as mentioned above, are almost dreamlike, or almost a different form or take of the perceived reality. And this is the aesthetic strength of Servito.

Dreams you wanted to become a Reality

His works are actually a dream that you want to become a concrete reality.

Who does not want the peace, the serenity, and the love and care that you will feel in his Family Tree? Or who does not want to peacefully rest and enjoy the music while up in the tree as you are having your Siesta?

The bond of a mother and a daughter is skillfully depicted in his colorful Mother and Daughter. Underneath the dotted parasol is the dream of a girl of becoming a true princess. Of course, the strength of a woman is not the crown she wears on her head but the strength of her disposition and her heart.

The colorfulness of the image of Waiting In Vain has not blurred the disappointment and the hurt that can be seen in the woman’s eyes, waiting under that tree.

Final Note

Servito is serving a platter of dreams that actually, a depiction of a reality that is longed for by many of us: a stream of happiness, a string of peacefulness and tranquility, and the unity amid the discordant and chaotic reality that we are living in.

With his command of colors and the lovable characters or images in his works, it will not be impossible that Servito will become of one of the sought-after modernist artist in the Philippines in the coming days.


* A short curatorial note for Eman Servito’s solo show at The Artologist Gallery in Greenhills, San Juan City, 22 October 2016.

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