In “Elemental,” unusual works by the likes of Vasarely and Cruz-Diez will be on display.
Léon Gallery and Art Fair Philippines is again partnering for an exhibit this year, which will both be featured in the latter’s virtual staging and the former’s Makati space. Called “Elemental,” it features abstract works by Victor Vasarely and Carlos Cruz-Diez as well as noted Filipino artists.
Vasarely (1906-1997) is a Hungarian-French creative credited as the grandfather and pioneer of the Optical Art (Op Art) movement. He applied geometrical effects to his pieces to convey motion within static forms. Through his geometric shapes and colorful graphics, he produced illusions of spatial depth, easily recognizable in the piece titled Mylla (50 1⁄2” x 71 1⁄2”, acrylic on canvas, signed and dated 1956-87 lower right).
Art pieces of Venezuelan kinetic artist Carlos Cruz-Diez (1923 – 2019) will also be on display: Induction Chromatique Jorge Antonio B (23 1⁄2” x 23 1⁄2”, chromography on paper on aluminum sheets, signed and dated 2011 verso), Physichromie 219 (12.2” x 24” x 3”, mixed media on wood, signed and dated 1966 verso), and Physichromie 1412 (23 1⁄2” x 47 1⁄4”, chromography on paper on aluminum sheets, signed and dated 2005 verso).
Cruz-Diez’s series Physichromie, whose name is a portmanteau of “physical chromatism,” encapsulates extreme abstraction: strips of red, green, and white cardboard inserted in a frame, sometimes forming geometric shapes with no traces of a recognizable subject. His works are generally based on the moiré effect, in which lines of contrasting color give the impression of movement.
Works by Fernando Zobel, Jose Joya, Lee Aguinaldo, and Florencio Concepcion will also be exhibited.
The paintings of Zobel (1924 – 1984) can be described as orderly and serene. As evident in Dos de Mayo III (40” x 32”, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1984 lower right), his brushstrokes cut across the surface of the canvas, bringing a third, virtual dimension to it and seemingly breathing it to life.
As stated by Antonio Magaz-Sangro, Zobel makes modifications to the nature of the surface of the canvas, “transfiguring it through the orientation and uneven distribution of strokes on a field of violent tensions, strokes on which he bestows an intense dynamic suggestiveness.”
Landscape (30” x 48”, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1965 lower right) by Joya (1931-1995), a National Artist for Visual Arts, is an exemplary proof of his designation as one of the country’s foremost abstractionists. Foreign influences were stripped off from his works thereby creating an authentic abstraction in the local context.
In the words of Leonidas V. Benesa, “it was Joya who was to give “pure painting” a local habitation and name, his own.” He adopted the principles of kineticism and fluidity in his paintings which became significant artistic values in Philippine art.
Recognized for his gestural, minimalist hard-edged, and color field paintings, Aguinaldo (1933-2007) revitalized abstraction in the local setting. An untitled artwork from the 70s (45” x 54”, aqua-tec (acrylic) on marine plywood, signed and dated 1978 verso) shows his penchant for hard-edged, glass-surface acrylic series.
Aguinaldo’s Drawing in Oils (23” x 35”, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1959 verso) was an early work which was a manifestation of his burgeoning artistry at that point in time.
Three creations by art educator Florencio Concepcion (1933-2006): Untitled (44” x 59 1⁄2”, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1962 upper left), Untitled (59” x 70”, oil on canvas, signed and dated 2002 lower left), and Homage to the Seer (Diptych) (36” x 72”, oil on canvas, signed and dated 2004 lower left) are also expected to be in the show.
Concepcion employed a calming spectrum of hues and refined strokes in his artworks that have become his trademark. His mastery of color is shown through the harmonies that are produced by the intermingling of hues in his canvas.
Other artists that will be exhibited include Nena Saguil, Lao Lianben, Bernando Pacquing, Norberto Carating, Jesús Rafael Soto, Romulo Olazo, and Josef Albers.
The exhibit runs from Thursday, May 6, to Saturday, May 15. A virtual exhibition will be organized on the Art Fair Philippines website at artfairphilippines.com. A complementary exhibit will also be held at Léon Gallery International located at G/F Corinthian Plaza, 121 Paseo de Roxas, Makati.
To book an appointment to see the paintings at the gallery and for further inquiries, contact (02) 88562781 and +6399855172010 or email [email protected].