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An Interview With Isa Lorenzo of Silverlens Galleries


An Interview With Isa Lorenzo of Silverlens Galleries
Ms Isa Lorenzo, Co-Gallery Director of Silverlens Galleries in The Philippines. Image: Tammy David

Name: Isa Lorenzo


Title: Co-Gallery Director, Silverlens Galleries

Silverlens gallery in The Philippines
Image courtesy of ArtSlant

Artists represented:

Pio Abad, Martha Atienza, Gabriel Barredo, Frank Callaghan, Genevieve Chua, Chati Coronel, Corinne De San Jose, Christina Dy, Patricia Perez Eustaquio, Dina Gadia, Gregory Halili, Wawi Navarroza, Renato Orara, Gina Osterloh, Bernarde Pacquing, Gary Ross Pastrana, Hanna PettyJohn, Maria Taniguchi, Ryan Villamael, Yee Ilann, and Eric Zamuco


Upcoming exhibition(s):

NONA GARCIA: Silverlens, Manila

YEE I-LANN: Ayala Museum, Manila

PIO ABAD: CCA, Glasgow


Untitled (2014) by Maria Taniguchi
Acrylic on archival paper / Unique Work / 114.3cm x 83.8cm / 45.0″ x 33.0″/ US$ 5,000
Available on!

A typical day for me is…

On Tuesdays, we hold a Silverlens General Meeting first hour and a half, followed by meetings with our Gallery Manager and Special Projects Manager for all ongoing projects onsite and offsite. We do studio visits once or twice a week.  Actually, each day is different. For example, today I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design brunch walk through with curators Inti Guerrero, Cosmic Costinas, and Joselina Cruz. A fantastic show Soils and Stones Soul and Songs, an international selection of 30+ artists. A real statement that the show is starting here in Manila before it travels to other world cities. After brunch, I went to the gallery: checked on commissioned pieces from artists Dina Gadia and Pow Martinez, went through emails and snail mail, and did price updates for artists Genevieve Chua and Patricia Eustaquio.  We owe Patty a studio visit for her Singapore Biennale piece, which I will probably do later today, after my meeting with the Kadist SF/Paris  folks who are here for the MCAD show that they helped organise. 

"Every Tool is a Weapon if You Hold it Right VI" (2013) by Pio Abad
Unique Acid Dye Print on Hand Stitched Silk Twill / Unique Work / 100.0cm x 100.0cm / 39.4″ x 39.4″ / US$ 7,000
Available on!

My advice for someone who wants to start collecting art is…

It’s a good idea to visit a lot of galleries and museums so you can decide what you like vs what you don’t like. It’s also better to have a personal opinion than to follow the herd. Work with galleries who represent their artists, the commitment to an artist’s career by a gallery is a good gauge of how serious the artist / gallery is, and the longevity of both artist / gallery.

"1052" by Frank Callaghan
Archival Inkjet Print / Edition of 5 / 68.6cm x 101.6cm / 27.0″ x 40.0″ / US$ 1,700
Available on!

You were one of the gallerists instrumental in establishing photography as a collected medium in the region. Do you think that the photography market has grown since you began this endeavour? Do you see an increase in Filipino artists taking up photography as a medium for their art?

The photography market is not as strong as I had hoped it would become. However, what I do find is that a lot of artists work with photography. They integrate the medium, as well as other mediums, in their body of work. It’s not so much about photography, but more about the artist. 

"Styro Fruits" (2012) by Corinne de San Jose
Archival Inkjet Print / Edition of 5 / 40.7cm x 50.8cm / 16.0″ x 20.0″ / US$ 900
Available on!

The Filipino art scene has grown significantly with the country becoming a major art destination in Southeast Asia, aided by art fairs such as Art Fair Philippines and institutions such as the Ayala Museum. What challenges do you think The Philippines still faces in terms of becoming a major force in the international art scene? What do you think can be done to overcome them?

We lack curators and we lack writers. We are putting up an art think tank called Calle Wright that gives grants for research and publications. Hopefully this will strengthen the system a little bit.


Silverlens will be moving into a new space soon. What exhibitions and programmes do you have planned? 

We open our new space in January with a group show of our artists in the main gallery, and a show of Gregory Halili in the smaller gallery. We are very excited about this new space because we were able to design it with what we learned about gallery spaces the last ten years, and looking forward to the next ten years, what will Silverlens be. Programming includes exhibitions by our artists as well as hosting exhibitions by artists from Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong. It’s going to have a stronger regional flavour. 



To find out more about Silverlens, click here.

Any views or opinions in the interview are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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