The whimsical and witty world of Paulina
By: Leticia U. Suarez

Reprinted from the Sunstar Life & Leisure, Cebu, October 12, 1996

Her paintings are like a breath of green air in the local art scene.
It’s like going from the dusty street into a woody hide-away that’s full of magical secrets.

Art collectors, people who enjoy color and those who appreciate art in all its forms will see people strolling on the ocean floor and frogs frolicking with people in Paulina’s third one- woman show "Fish- to- Face" from November 14 to 28 at the new Ma’i Room of the Ayala Museum, Makati, Metro Manila.

This avant-garde output came about from her recent diving trip with her friends at dive sites Doljo and Balicasag Island, both in Bohol.

As with her second one- woman show in Manila billed as "Floral Chorus" her third promises to take you into a colorful journey this time among the seaweeds in the sea.

Paulina notes, " I’m quite a beginner in diving, but this recent trip - probably with a little bit of mastery of my diving skill- was a remarkable experience. Too bad, time is never enough, ascending time always comes too soon , always when you are just beginning to enjoy yourself underwater. Then the big question comes to mind, "What if air was never an issue? This is the entire idea of her third one- man show.

There’s something wonderfully childlike about Paulina’s works. But as with the unforgettable works of Cezanne and Gaugain-the degree of control with line and color and the psychology in them are definitely adult.

One can classify her spirit as baroque, her innocence that of American painter Grandma Moses, but Paulina Constancia is her own person.

This early, her art has found its signature, its voice. A viewer instantly recognizes the painting as Paulina’s the way one knows the work is "a Fred Galan" or "a Luther Galicano."

Her art may carry a "message" but is not the excuse for its being. They are an expression of her feelings of the moment and an outlet of her soul. "It is my thumb mark -- my identity," she told writer Marisa L. Mauricio.

While they are devoid of preconceived notions about rules even if Paulina knows the how’s and wherefor’s of art, they show intelligence and direction. As she told Sunday Inquirer, "As artist, we must accept and appreciate the fact that our art takes different shapes in different times of our lives."

"We don’t have to be one or the other. We just have to respond naturally and wholeheartedly to the creative spirit when it speaks to us and find the best medium in which we can carry out the task of expression."

Perhaps Paulina’s inventive use of color and pattern were influenced by her choice to pursue a degree in fashion designing (in the States). Earlier, she was enrolled in the fine arts course in UP but after barely three weeks, opted for the other road.

A year after she came back from the States, Paulina did open her own boutique "where I designed the clothes and shoes I was selling," to quote the artist. Eventually, she completed a degree in mass communications at St. Theresas’ College.

Art enamored her seriously when she met painter- teacher Celso Pepito. Pepito gave her art lessons for one month. Paulina also joined the Cebu Artist Incorporated (CAI) where she also received encouragement to go on with her vision as an artist.

Her canvases are enlivened with Alice- in -Wonderland-like figures and concepts. Flowers are not what they are and yet Paulina captures their essence of fragility and fragrance. Animals show their colorful nature through a burst of sunshine tints.

Acrylic is Paulina’s main medium. It lends well for her purposes. The sheen is just right for her ideas.

Her canvases, however, are something else. Anything is possible: cabinet doors, calling cards, plates, and old picture frames are turned into a part of her art. Old castaways are given new life, the common- place becomes an object of admiration. Past exhibits consistently reveal Paulina’s creative style which stand as statement of its own.

She came to public attention with her "Different Stokes" group exhibit in December 1992, " Kisaw Kultura" in May 1995 (through the Internet), first one-man exhibit in "Solo" in January 1995, "Folk Duet" with Alvarado in October 1995 and the well- received second one- man show in Manila to name some of the 15 shows she’s had.

Paulina’s latest art exhibit tells of the same high- spirited and imaginative interpretation of the world. It is there for us to enjoy. Issues may be there, but they are not forced on you. Like good poetry, one can enjoy her work at the first level.

She warns that it is not a documentary effort- but just a unique dip into the deep. As much as she enjoyed the corals and the rainbow fishes, we can expect to have the same good time. After all, art uplifts, art inspires, and art whimsical and witty momentarily makes us forget how grey the world has become.