Mother of Pearl Shell Skulls by Gregory Raymond Halili.
Filipino artist Gregory Raymond Halili creates amazingly detailed skulls that are hand carved and painted with oil on Philippine mother-of-pear shells. Using monochromatic tones with hints of color, Halili recreates the primal image of the skull with meticulous precision and immense detail. In his new works, Halili tackles the notions of life, death, rebirth, by treating the skull as a symbol of spiritual, human, and cosmic existence, reminds us that in order to grow spiritually we need to allow the ego to die and loosen its grip.
Halili was born and raised in the Philippines, surrounded by lush vegetation, tropical wildlife and warm people. As a teenager, he moved to this country in 1988. The artist’s memories of childhood infused with the perfume of the tropics are a touchstone to many of his paintings. Working in gouache, the miniatures range in size from 1×1 inch to 4×12 inches. In this small scale, Halili creates an entire world filled with light, atmosphere, mood with meticulous precision and immense detail. He draws us into an enchanted garden, a kinder, gentler place.
For the past three years Gregory Halili has worked on a series of images of New York, bringing his unique vision to the structures of this city.
Using sepia-related tones with hints of color and sparkles of gold, the artist captures vistas of the city depicting the lake in Central Park in winter with distant views of apartment towers, buildings in perspective, the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings among them, details of structures, both recognizable as New York icons, and anonymous as structures that fascinate the artist visually.
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Mother of Pearl Shell Skulls by Gregory Raymond Halili: