Heaven is Now

  • Start

    09 November 2018
  • End

    09 December 2018
  • Artists

    Jack Mernin, Lala Gallardo

  • Venue

    3F, The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences, 119 LP Leviste St., Salcedo village, Makati City, 1227, Philippines



While the concept of heaven is commonly associated with the afterlife, artists Lala Gallardo and Jack Mernin bring to the fore, works that invoke the idea of a transcendent place —one found neither in the past nor in the future, but one that is established in the present. Here, the artists arrange an ensemble of images and portrayals engaged in an opposite binary whilst interpreting the same notion: a metaphysical atmosphere representing bliss or, perhaps, a take on contentment as a point of arrival.

Through abstraction, the works of Jack Mernin are unraveled through the viewers’ slow contemplation, thus, allowing us to willfully discern our present consciousness alongside his interpretation in every stroke and in every possible object, which are found in his paintings. Composed and finished in a single sitting, Mernin playfully captures a myriad of sensibilities as he proceeds, to become the mediator between his own simultaneous narrative and that of the viewers. In this show, Mernin places an emphasis to the value of a moment unfolding; an elaboration of presence (considering the discernment of both artist and viewers) within a particular time, especially in the context of now.

Similarly, Gallardo stresses how heaven belongs to the present through figuration. Images that manifest the fragility of the human flesh are highlighted in her series. From open wounds to raw stitches on the skin, there must be no other effective vessel of the present than the physical body. In this show, Gallardo traces a path among the fragments kept in her tales of pain and healing. These illustrations depict pivotal moments of self-awareness, which embraces vulnerability exposed through the changes of time.

Heaven is Now considers the temporary as its destination: looking in instead of looking away. Here, every second and every minute becomes cathartic— the present is a utopia for those who would like to pause and keep still.

  • Gwen Bautista, Writer


Artist Statements

HEAVEN IS NOW is a collection of paintings portraying flesh, in fragile snapshots, from open wounds to raw stitches, searching hands, figures entwined, skin on skin, in sleep.


The paintings trace a path through trauma, pain and eventual healing, symbolizing those pivotal moments when we take full responsibility for ourselves and carve out our own headspace and happiness, independent of anything or anyone else. But such moments  always come with a price. Periods of purposeful personal change are often difficult, with bridges burned, people left behind, leaving us unsure and unmoored.


But it’s at this crucial point, no matter how painful, when we are at our most receptive, present and aware.  We leave ourselves exposed; through the bleeding, our palms are still open, raw and hopeful.


– Lala Gallardo


My abstract paintings are linked to the translation of objects’ depictions.  Upon viewing and with slow contemplation, discernment remains unfixed according to the subjective eye of the viewer and time seen.  A referent’s identity rarely withstands the process of painting, where fragmentary glimpses and imploding forms compose new, unforeseen associations.


Playful, deliberate nods to historical precedents encourage coincidental encounters.  Cap, for example, portrays a motif lifted from an early Picasso sketch; Bluets draws its title from a recent text by Maggie Nelson.  Composed in a single sitting, my sensuous paintings provoke an enveloped, self-contained presence— unfolding the strangeness of a particular moment, happening now, until, then.

  • Jack Mernin