BY LISA ITO
A tribute to Galleria Duemila’s founder and art director Silvana Ancelloti-Diaz, this exhibition by three of the gallery’s consistent exhibiting artists through the decades offers three individual moments of rumination through abstraction.
The moving gesture is explored in Trek Valdizno’s suite of four paintings for the show. Valdizno combines four intense pigments—black, white and red against gold—and large brush strokes to produce grand, calligraphic forms. The resulting images stand out and shimmer against the light, denoting the power and movement of blithe and robust flight. The titles of each work are fleeting poetic moments: connoting, for instance, a turn of thought or a revelatory moment.
The tangible physicality and texture of pure pigment, on the other hand, can be experienced firsthand in Jonathan Olazo’s canvases. Olazo presents paintings which are each built up through layers of short, overlapping dabs and taps of acrylic and oil paint: producing layered, impressionistic images. The paintings are either vertically or horizontally oriented, hinting at the conventions of portrait or landscape paintings. Each is lyrically titled: offering a seeming recollection of vivid vignettes spanning memories of tranquil moonlit nights by the sea to poetic impressions of “the messenger with beautiful feet”.
There are no words to name R.M. de Leon’s series of untitled mixed media abstractions, which combine translucent washes and more subdued earthy hues with deftly-rendered forms. A closer look at the works, however, reveals strange surprises, such as the occasional photograph, rough scribble or figurative element seamlessly integrated into the whole composition. De Leon infuses a nuanced sense of play and color in these images, producing an entire series of quietly enigmatic compositions which seamlessly integrate graphic and painterly expression.
The combination of these three distinct sensibilities in a single show is a fitting homage to Diaz and her own personal journey of supporting the arts over the course of five decades. Born in Italy to a family which instilled in her an early love of art, Diaz eventually established roots in the Philippines and has resided in the country ever since 1971. As a gallerist and arts manager, she founded and led Galleria Duemila to be an institution which has both ably presented the work of Philippine artists, at home and to the world, and which has continuously emphasized the value and practice of art historical research and scholarship and thorough documentation in its operations.
The exhibition also emphasizes how Diaz has consistently and quietly championed the work of Philippine abstractionists, several generations of whom have been represented by the gallery from the start. This lyrical moment of giving back led by de Leon, Olazo and Valdizno distills Diaz’s feisty spirit and sensibility into visions both beautiful and brave. •
Lisa Ito is a writer, artist and activist. She graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts in Diliman with a major in art history and has pursued the practice of art writing since 2001.
This coming September 1 will be an exhibition thrown by the closest artist friends of Silvana Ancellotti-Diaz who will celebrate her 43 years of dedication and art patronage through the establishment of Galleria Duemila (the longest running commercial gallery) and organizing major exhibition and retrospectives throughout these years.
An Italian in Manila: An Exhibition Tribute to Mrs. Silvana Diaz (43 years of Philippine Art Patronage), traverses the friendship and the support Mrs. Silvana Diaz has catered to these artists. It is time to reverse the spotlight, to pull the theme around and reflect on all the help and support of all the cultural workers most specifically an Italian woman in Manila.
The participating artists are RM de Leon, Jonathan Olazo and Trek Valdizno.
Jonathan Olazo graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts with a major in Painting in 1992. In 1994, he was awarded the Thirteen Artists Award by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. An abstractionist painter, an art critic and a former Fine Arts instructor admits to the fact that writing is an integral part of his process as an artist. Growing up in the arts with his father being the late artist Romulo Olazo, Jonathan has magnified the use of light and texture in his abstraction process, his visual planes often blur out each other, a more subdued process than his early perpetual awe of Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline’s art.
Trek Valdizno is a graduate of the University of the Philippines with a degree in Fine Arts major in Painting. His works has been exhibited in Ayala Museum, Vargas Museum and Cultural Center of the Philippines. He also did commissioned and collaborative works in various international institutions in Australia, Hong Kong and France. His art is a conscious, spiritual practice that allows him to traverse through different brushstrokes resulting into large-scale compositions that engulf the viewer into its majesty and elegance. Breaking down the components of his works, you can see the fascination and careful consideration in the littlest-bit of elements.
RM de Leon is the First Filipino awardee in Studio Arts in Painting in the Vermont Studio Center in Vermont U.S.A. and was the 13th Artists Awardee of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1990. His current works drew inspiration in storybook characters and cartoons that he found graphic and playful. In figurativism, it is a straightforward identification of symbols and enigma. RM intervenes through cutting imagery that force imagination and wonder to the otherwise familiar narrative of early childhood memories.
The exhibition will start on September 1 – 29, 2018. Opening Reception will be on September 1, Saturday at 4pm. For more information, you may contact us at 831-9990 or 833-9815, or visit our website at www.galleriaduemila.com and follow us on our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): @galleriaduemila.