|Washington, DC-based artist Joey P. Mánlapaz was born in the Philippines and came to the United States as a young teen. She earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree in painting from the George Washington University where her ongoing fascination for the city of Washington as subject matter was influenced by her mentor Frank Wright, a renowned painter of 18th-19th century architecture of downtown DC.
Mánlapaz exhibits extensively in the U.S. and has received numerous accolades for her unique form of painterly photorealism, a result of a combined interest in the strict photorealist styles of New York artists Tom Blackwell and Richard Estes and the deep psychological sensibility of Edward Hopper. Her 2009 museum exhibition “Through the Looking Glass” at the Corcoran Gallery of Art featured her Reflections Series, highly complex paintings of reflections on glass storefront windows in DC.
The artist has received grants and fellowships in support of her work and in 2003, a painting commission from the U.S. Library of Congress and First Lady Laura Bush for the National Book Festival. She serves on numerous panels as juror and curator. Her paintings are widely collected in the U.S. and internationally by private and corporate art collectors. Nineteen of her works are in the collection of the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, by far the largest collector of her paintings. Collectors include Akridge, Arnold & Porter LLP, Ayala Corporation, Bill Cosby, DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, ING, (late) Senator Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Library of Congress, U.S. State Department and Wiley Rein & Fielding LLP, to name a few.
She lives and maintains a studio in historic Capitol Hill and is Associate Faculty at the Corcoran College of Art and Design.
Artist statement for Cycles, Bikes & Bins Series
I am a painter highly influenced by the New York city-based photorealist movement that came out of the 1970s and particularly admire paintings of Tom Blackwell and Richard Estes. In contrast to their strict, factual and non-editorializing brand of photorealism, however, I aspire to imbue my cityscapes with the deep psychological breadth of Edward Hopper, who captured loneliness and isolation in his work.
I focus primarily on architecture of Washington, DC for subject matter and during the course of my 30-years artistic career, I continuously try and develop different themes, using traditional oil painting techniques. I painted many buildings no longer existing. I highlighted the colorful hot dog vendors ubiquitous to our streets. I featured monuments that pepper the federal city. In my recent series, I focused on glass storefront windows of local DC businesses.
Zen philosophy of nothingness and ever present moment is a tenet I espouse and in my current series “Cycles, Bikes & Bins,” I paint motorcycles, bicycles, and newspaper stands signs of a bustling city devoid of human presence or if at all, with a lone figure. Whereas Hopper graphically described isolation as two people trapped in an interior space, I portray emptiness and aloneness in an urban street setting by implementing strong saturated colors bathed in serene and diffused lighting and capture these elements as solitary entities left to their own devices.
My introspective qualities strongly resonate in my paintings, which simmer with isolation and quiet. I brought these traits with me since my early teens when I immigrated to America and developed deep feelings of being out of place in my new environment. While Washington, DC remains prominent in my work, it really serves as a vehicle by which I express my true self. Together, my paintings chronicle not only the transformation of the city that is now my home but also my own journey from a lonely youth to a mature artist.