In surveying through body of art works, a keen observation can resolve into realization on the interconnectedness of things; on how personal history seeps through every forms; and how chosen forms can encapsulate the artist’s own history. In Paintings, Installations/Objects IV, the affinity of Nestor Vinluan to nature is magnanimous, that each series draws us to the very essence of natural elements around us. His works highlight the indisputable influence of the heavens and of the earth in art making. The semblance of his forms to nature, from the circular shape of the moon, the vertical lines of the trees or the horizontal color palette of the skies, is an invitation to partake in a meditative journey transcending the walls of the gallery.
Throughout his career as an abstract artist, Vinluan exemplifies spontaneity and control in equal measure. In his quintessential artistic gesture of layering paint on canvas, he is able to orchestrate his brush spatters to commence a desired effect. At a distance, the layers radiate like tiny specs dashed across the space. At arms length, they emanate congruence as if the sky drizzled rain in equanimous manner leaving a harmonious imprint on the ground. In Vinluan’s hands, earthly tones and primary colors that bear resemblance to the natural world find their way in his canvases, collected and breath taking like the visage of a seascape underneath the dawning sun.
In his decades of potency and prolificacy as an artist, he has established his unique visual language, one that distinctly separates him from other abstractionists. Emerging in the 1990s is his use of circular shape as a dominant element in his works. In Flowing Form series, the two immersive circular forms can easily subsume their viewers and take them into the realm of the cosmic and the mystic. A sizeable circular shape occupies each panel and in them, Vinluan lays his layers of hues of ochre and blues creating a pulsating aura that optically animates the once simple outline. Their orb like feats approximates that of the planets or of surreal objects from an imagined plane. Upon closer investigation, they lead us back to earth, to an abstracted land and water. In them, we find vertical wave-like line delineating each circle, a gesture comparable to a topographical view of a tilled land, as the soil is prepared to commune with the surrounding water. It somehow serves as a footnote to Vinluan’s fondness to agriculture and a disentanglement of his childhood memories in the province.
In Red Paintings series, our gaze is drawn to a horizon of red color as it ruminates in a bed of shades of blue. The warm and cool color fuse along the borders of the canvas and the piercing vermillion simultaneously solidifies and scatters halfway through the center. There is an organic unity of colors that in multitudes of red we see order flowing in and out, creating a scenic panoramic view. From the Radiance, makes a dynamic movement upward that seems to open up towards the skies. The vibrant atmosphere trails from the bottom up, simulating a jolt of a water fountain springing from the ground.
Every work in Painting, Installations, Objects IV transmits an infectious spiritual outlook to viewers. A close encounter to Vinluan’s On Umber Field (1 & 2) readily places the eyes into a meditative state and sets the gaze into a balance leading into a trance. The laid out spatter of umber forming a field like view takes us to Vinluan’s act of art making, a diligent process of working with his brushes commanding it to move in uniformity – like a monk repeating a mantra. A perfectly placed outline of a circle directs its viewer to a certain focus, the circumferential perfection of a spatial unity.
In Memory from the Landscape, Vinluan breaks down the elements of a typical landscape painting into its bare essentials. His profound vision of abstraction allows us to see a horizon dividing the sky and earth from a body of water. In it, onlookers can decipher a scenic autumn or a rural setting being observed at a distance. In this piece, the color, texture and mood of a certain memory of a landscape are preserved thus fossilizing time with all its heft and complexity.
Vinluan’s installation works transmute his abstraction in three-dimensional plane, opening up an experiential vantage point. He amalgamates his textures and forms in his use of textured concretes, driftwoods, river stones and pebbles and arranges them with ergonomic flow and spatial balance. In each ‘combine’ of organic and geometric forms, man-made and the natural elements create a symbiotic relationship made possible through the artist’s vision. Painting, Installations, Objects IV is a continuation of Vinluan’s historical tradition of realizing intimacy with life through personal reflection and actualizing connectedness of everything and everyone around us in the guise of abstraction. •
Galleria Duemila proudly presents Paintings/Installations/Objects IV by Nestor Olarte Vinluan. Hailed as the Most Outstanding Fulbright Alumni in Arts and Humanities by Philippine Fulbright Scholar’s Association in 2008, a three-term Dean of the College of Fine Arts in the University of the Philippines and now Professor Emeritus of the institution, Nestor Olarte Vinluan is a celebrated abstractionist, a renowned educator and a stalwart in Philippine Art.
A sequel to the first three Paintings/Installations/Objects exhibits, the fourth installment is a continuation of Vinluan’s musings on the natural context. A way of looking at it is deconstruction, a piecing together of colors built on maturity and translated to forceful yet subtle works.
It is a wandering to the sublime, a looking through natural forms and a yearning for harmony through hues of blues, browns and reds. Vinluan takes us again to whirlwinds of strokes and figures through free gestures that result to a feat of circular shapes and curvilinear lines.
Nestor Olarte Vinluan, with a career that spans four decades are but a reminder of his expertise in the visual arts gained solely through his role in the gallery/museum setting and the academe. •