SUNY Oneonta’s Project Space Gallery published Pearlie Rose S. Baluyut’s catalogue for the exhibition she curated in February 2019. Titled “Menagerie: Paintings by Tawan Wattuya,” the 80-page catalogue includes a foreword from the museum director Timothy Sheesley, a curatorial essay, fully captioned color reproductions of 89 watercolor paintings, and artist and curator biographies.
Referencing the 18th-century French word menagerie, which is a strange or diverse collection of animals kept in captivity for display, the catalogue documents the exhibition’s exploration of the art historical continuum of image- and myth-making even before the medieval times and until the explosion of mass media. From anthropomorphic gods to caricatured ghouls, creatures of fantasy mirror humanity’s ascent and descent as the latter masters its unpredictable environment since time immemorial. Evidently, power manifested itself as man’s negotiation with nature—a perpetual tug of war where the predator and the prey were interchangeable. As a prototype for the modern zoological garden gone awry, the gallery morphs into a menagerie of global politicians as grotesque monsters and domestic or exotic animals revered as national symbols or charted as signifiers of the Chinese zodiac. Menagerie: Paintings by Tawan Wattuya provides a captivating panorama of our progress in a gestural dialogue with the artist’s bestiary of the (in)famous and the (in)human. The exhibition runs from February 6, 2019 to March 15, 2019 at the SUNY Oneonta Project Space Gallery.
About the Curator
Pearlie Rose S. Baluyut received her B.A. (summa cum laude), M.A., and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles. Baluyut is the recipient of several grants and awards, allowing her to conduct research abroad as a successive UCLA Edward A. Dickson Art History Fellow, a two-time Fulbright U.S. Scholar, a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow, and a Faculty Learning Community Participant through the National Endowment for the Humanities Initiative Grant, among others. Baluyut has presented her papers at national and international conferences. In addition to her publications in Australian Journal of Art, Amerasia Journal, and Pananaw: Philippine Journal of Visual Arts, Baluyut is the co-editor and author of Confrontations, Crossings, and Convergence: Photographs of the Philippines and the United States, 1898-1998, as well as the author of Institutions and Icons of Patronage: Arts and Culture in the Philippines during the Marcos Years, 1965-1986. Baluyut’s scholarship is balanced by her professional experiences as Admissions Clerk at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; as Guest Curator at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History in Los Angeles and the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena; as National Juror of the Philippine Art Awards in Manila; as Director of The Sam Francis Gallery in Santa Monica; Art Historian and Advisor at the National Museum of the Philippines; and as Project Manager/Curator of the Philippines at the Venice Biennale Project. She has curated a range of exhibitions that included works in the Eileen Harris Norton collection such as High Yellow (1999-2001) by Los Angeles-based artist Mark Bradford who eventually represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 2017. Since 2005, Baluyut has taught art history, theory, and criticism with a global dimension, as well as museum studies, at ten institutions in three countries. Besides leading international study abroad programs, Baluyut currently serves as International Committee Chair of the College Art Association, the preeminent international leadership organization in the visual arts in the United States.