Tastemaker Entertainment: Merc Tenorio | lifestyle

Without a doubt Merc Tenorio is one of my favorite artists – period. Just one look at her artwork and you will see her subjects come to life with a wealth of emotion.

The self-taught artist is an expert at creating textures through her skillful brushstrokes.

“Although most viewers will kindly say that my paintings look realistic, I’ve tried to make them look more honest than photographic, and I’m hoping to build some sort of emotional connection with the viewer from there,” Tenorio said.

Tenorio is a multi-talent: The disabled Navy veteran is also a poet, songwriter, amateur photographer and former educator.

Her exhibition opened on November 5th at the Lees-Reyes Art Gallery on the second floor of Tumon Sands Plaza. It will close on November 29th.

Her exhibition, which Tenorio calls “rock/you”, is a compilation of rock paintings. The title could be read as a tandem of a noun and a pronoun, or as a combination of a transitive verb and its object.

“I used that title for this solo show as a summary of all the emotions I was trying to portray and associated with each painting and each title,” she said.

Tenorio’s paintings have other themes, but she is most drawn to rocks because of the challenge of rendering texture and giving them character.

“It’s all careful and patient brushstrokes that give a semblance of realism. One day I just woke up and saw how many rock-themed paintings I had accumulated and felt like I was ready for a solo show with those rocks,” she added.

As I walked through their exhibition, four drew me in particular:

  • “That Unnamed Feeling” is about the loss of Tenorio’s mother. “I know that her absence from my life has thrown me into a deep void that I will have to grapple with for the rest of my life. I don’t really know how to describe this hollow feeling, like I’m literally disconnected from my real source of life. It’s that unnamed feeling,” she explained.
  • “Into which Blue” is full of duality: action and stillness, green vegetation and brown rocks, smooth and rough. But these contrasting elements are found at the center, blended as one theme.

“The viewer decides what he wants to see and where he wants to be led – to the blue sky or to the blue water. I hope they find their choice of perspective as uplifting as the other,” she said.

  • “Metaphor” refers to how we often judge a person based on what we see from the outside. The painting was almost never completed due to Tenorio’s circumstances at the time.

“Halfway through I threw it in a corner and just wanted to paint over it. I had some difficulties at that time. And in one of those moments, I happened to look at it and it looked lost, just like me. So I put it on the easel and started working on it again.

“I didn’t know if it was appropriate to paint succulents over the small rocks as if they were trying to sprout and looked alive despite the lack of nourishing soil. Succulents are known to represent tenacity and perseverance,” she explained.

  • You and I touches on a point where Tenorio felt guilty for taking her talent for granted.

“I was more focused on my flaws and my insecurities rather than my blessings. Sometimes I still do. Fear, insecurity, the feeling of not being good enough – those obstacles that can make you feel like a small, insignificant rock in front of this great, glorious ocean. ‘You And I’ is about that humbling realization,” she said.

Tenorio’s works will not challenge your intellect or art knowledge, and they will not create confusion or force you to see what is not there.

Put simply, they are both beautiful and meaningful.

“By showing my painting, I invite the viewer to meditate with me, to see the confession I am willing to reveal and to feel an emotion from a specific perspective. We will cry together if we have to,” she said.

I encourage everyone to experience Tenorio’s works and see for themselves what makes them so special.

Norman Analista is the founder of Analista & Co., a Guam-based fashion brand specializing in bespoke clothing. He has designed clothes for dozens of celebrities and social media influencers across the US, Asia and Europe. For unpublished content on this column, follow @tastemaker671 on Instagram. Email with story suggestions

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