Saturday Fun Machine
20 Square, Silverlens Galleries
March 2016
Saturday Fun In the world before cable television, waking up for Saturday morning cartoons was a cherished tradition that framed many other memories of childhood. For Isabel Roxas, as for everyone who was a child in Manila in the 1980s, Saturday Fun Machine is an enduring memory, a block of programming devoted to robots, superheroes, and other wild fantasies. 
“Recently, I re-read Joe Brainard’s seminal art book I Remember, which taps collected memories as the starting point for inspiration,” says Roxas. This exhibition is a visual catalog of memory and myth culled from a childhood in Manila in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
The work here is deeply personal and specific, but the arc describes a universal human experience—leaving childhood behind, and surrendering to fickle memory. “By transcribing the most banal scenes of my childhood, I hope to touch universal experiences of a bygone time, to recreate small, intimate moments that transport the viewer through the fractured lens of unreliable memory, or are tinged by a soft blanket of nostalgia.”
Isabel Roxas’ body of work has demonstrated her deft hand at tackling childhood and nostalgia with sincerity and openness, with an ingenuousness that nevertheless belies a depth of emotion and a complex world-view. A good number of the pieces in Saturday Fun Machine are character portraits of various household helpers (“They are inseparable from my memories and moments, and it has become important to me to make them visible and tangible now,” says Roxas), with a handful (“Super Johnny,” “Celso,” and “The Sisters”) utilizing ceramics as a medium, new to the artist. In the piece “Ode to Joe,” a sheet of newsprint has been exposed to sunlight in order to create an imprint of the words “I remember.” Produced on a non-colorfast material, the words were designed to fade and discolor, and possibly disappear over the coming years—“the frame being the only trace of having held something within.” 
Art offers Roxas a way to reclaim the past by recreating memories that would otherwise be lost, and withSaturday Fun Machine, the artist shares this priceless luxury with us.
-Kristine Fonacier

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