Isa Lorenzo, director of Silverlens Galleries, gives quite the laconic answer when asked about the gallery’s recent change of address. “Our lease ended,” she says, as if to declare, and that’s that. But upon entering the new space, it’s immediately perceptible that there’s more to the story, as far as new beginnings are concerned.

For over a decade, dating back to when it opened its doors in 2004, Silverlens became the gallery-that-could in its pioneering warehouse location along Pasong Tamo extension. Rising rental rates and the unpredictability of the art world aside, Silverlens continued to thrive and break new ground as its roster of internationally acclaimed and award-winning artists grew, counting among them the likes of Lorenzo, Rachel Rillo (who is also co-director), Greg Halili, Ryan Villamael, Patricia Eustaquio, and Wawi Navarroza.

“It took a long time to find this space,” says Lorenzo. “We knew we wanted to stay in this area.” Longer, then, was the design phase, a collaborative venture with their architect, CS Architecture’s Anna Sy. Lorenzo calls the process ambitious. “We wanted to do all sorts of things, but then we had to be realistic about what we could and couldn’t do.”

So they prioritized and planned according to what they really wanted: extensive gallery space, high ceilings, a “nice gang office,” a viewing room, and storage. There is also a library, a pantry, three studios, and a communal restroom. All have a clean, minimalist look to them — down to the delivery trucks emblazoned with the Silverlens logo — and the effect is unassuming, yet inviting. There’s no better way to look at art.

According to Lorenzo, they’re still getting used to the new space, but they’ve started figuring out what works best. In the coming month, Silverlens is working with Hong Kong’s Edouard Malingue Gallery for a group show featuring a “mixed bag” of Western and Filipino artists. It’s the first in an ongoing series of attempts for the gallery to hold more international shows, says Lorenzo. “It’s a dialogue that brings the outside in.” – Fiel Estrella

Silverlens is located at Lapanday Center, 2263 Don Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati. Art pictured is from Wawi Navarroza’s “Medusa” exhibit, which runs until June 3, 2017.

Photos by Patrick Diokno

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