Martin Genodepa is a self-taught sculptor specializing in stone sculpture. His favorite mediums are coral stone and sandstone which are abundant in the environs of Guimbal, Iloilo in Panay Island, Philippines where he resides and sets up his studio. He discovered he could sculpt after a trip to a coral island in Antique province in 1991. He has had ten solo exhibitions in Manila, the U.S. and in Iloilo since 1992 in such reputable public and private art venues like the Tangahalan Fernando Amorsolo of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Hiraya Gallery, Vermont Studio Center's Red Mill Gallery, the U.P. Visayas Art Gallery and Museo Iloilo. Genodepa is distinguished to have received, among other grants and awards, the Ford Foundation International Fellowship, Outstanding U.P. Alumnus in the Visual Arts, and the Freeman Fellowship for Asian Artists full grant from Vermont Studio Center making him an artist-in-residence in said art colony. He was featured in the multi-awarded Travel Time television program documentary “New Kids on the Art Block” together with Alfredo Esquillo, Marcel Antonio, Gabriel Barredo and Daniel Coquilla.
Genodepa's themes vary: grace under pressure,alienation and isolation, feminism and womanhood, sexuality, and human and societal disintegration ---- all reflections of his idealization of wholeness for broken human beings. These themes have become something like an ideational repertoire from which he had created sculptures in his solo exhibitions and which he periodically returns to in order to draw inspiration from to sculpt individual pieces as he searches for better expressions of their constituent concepts thus hinting further at Genodepa’s predilection and inclination for perfection.
Genodepa, in 20 years of carving stones, had produced over 300 pieces of sculpture mostly table pieces which he believes are proportionate to the intimacy and delicacy of feelings that he wanted to express in them. This site provides a revelation about the scope and breadth of Genodepa’s oeuvres even as it gives the forgotten art of stone carving a much needed resuscitation in the Philippines.
Genodepa has gotten favorable reviews from respected Filipino critics like Alice G. Guillermo and Eric Torres and has been featured in some art publications.
“Genodepa is sort of earth-bound. His material is quite unusual. He uses dead coral; so in many ways he is using nature’s junk to create his kind of sculpture which tends to be pared-down. Oh yes, he does figures, faces, portions of the human anatomy but reducing them to the barest essentials. The process he uses in his creative work is a process of reduction. I like his sculpture because it proves that less is more.”
Eric Torres, (The New Kids on the Art Block), Travel Time
"The appeal of Genodepa’s work lies in his instinctive understanding and appreciation of his material coupled with an unfailing sense of design through which he is able to make full expressive use of the coral medium. With these figures he brings into sculptural realization hitherto submerged passions, impulses and feelings even as the coral stones were dredged by the tides from the bottom of the sea to the open shore.”
Alice Guillermo, (Sculpture in Coral…), W
“Totemic, elemental, molded out of but never quite freeing themselves from the coral stone of which they were made, the women of Martin Genodepa seemed to want only one thing --- to free themselves from the rock they embrace and take to the sky. In his sculpture we see an elegant metaphor of woman bound to the soil yet reaching for the stars.”
Susan Calo Medina, (The New Kids on the Art Block),Travel Time