Jel Suarez

b. 1990, Manila, Philippines
Lives and works in Manila and Bacolod, Philippines

Self-taught artist Jel Suarez describes herself as a “collector, hunter, gatherer, de/constructor, arranger”. Built on a practice of collage-making, Suarez’s work is openly informed by the physicality of things, being composed of natural objects, such as paper, stones, odds and ends that she fortuitously finds in surplus shops, books, and wooden objects. Suarez approaches collage as a way of reading, reinterpreting, and responding to visual phenomena by restating these images as open codes and as new texts in the process of becoming.

There are naturally occurring senses that she harnesses and adapts to in these “things”, resulting in encounters of reconfigured archives. The artefacts in her work are yet to be released from their old lives. Curiously, it is not only the object that is in a state of reconfiguration: the artist books and found objects that she plays with and presents also allow her readers and viewers the space to engage in open-ended, non-linear interaction with these materials. Suarez’s work doubles as cartography, an unconscious mapping of images and materials into differing landscapes.

Suarez was granted artist residency at Rimbun Dahan (Selangor, Malaysia) in 2017, and invited to Larga Artist Residency (Negros Occidental, Philippines) in 2019. She has shown her works abroad through Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. Notable exhibitions include ‘small bones, holding a mountain’ at West Gallery (2020), ‘A will for prolific disclosures’ at The Drawing Room Gallery (2020), and her participation at ‘ALT Philippines’ through MO_Space Gallery (2020).

Her solo exhibitions with MO_Space Gallery (2019) and West Gallery (2018 and 2020), were consecutively shortlisted for the Ateneo Art Awards, where she became the first recipient of its Italian Embassy’s Purchase Prize.

Biography information from the artist’s website, May 2022