New series of works by painter-photojournalist-printmaker Jose “Pinggot” Zulueta marks the start of a new direction in his practice.
Utilizing diptychs and triptychs, Zulueta tantalizes with his use of figuration with pure abstraction to come up with remarkable new works.
All this reflects the life journey of Zulueta. The paintings reflect all the people he has met and the places he has traveled. His highly nuanced figuration and abstraction, not to mention the technical aptitude necessary in his approach, shows his continuing development.
With three solo exhibitions under his belt, Zulueta has a multistoried career as artist, photojournalist, archivist.
Galerie Francesca hosts Zulueta’s fourth solo exhibition, “Viajes (Journeys).” Surveying the intricacies of his innumerable experiences through the prism of figuration and abstraction, the painter touches upon topics that run through the gamut of philosophical concepts.
Zulueta’s main oeuvre in this exhibition is expressed through triptychs. At the center of these paintings is a figurative element of a man in action, the figure flanked by two pure abstract paintings.
“Meditation” is a fine example, as the human figure at rest (sitting down in meditation, as it were) is flanked by graffiti-like compositions—perhaps an indication of the thought process of the figure.
Solid-colored horizontal lines run across the top and bottom of the triptych, connecting the three paintings as a singular piece. Zulueta also makes use of diptychs in the same manner.
“Figure Rising,” with the human figuration on the work’s left side, is a prime example—being that of a torso in the midst of rising up and connected through the intersecting layers of horizontal lines to a pure abstraction on its right.
To complement these multi-perspective diptychs and triptychs, the exhibition includes canvases of pure abstraction, in a medley of colorizations that emphasizes texture to arouse an expression.
So we have “Dreaming North Shore” in that texturized, organic geography that Zulueta is known for, in a cacophony of red earth colors.
These new works mark a very different path for Zulueta, who obtained his Fine Arts degree from the College of Architecture and Fine Arts of the University of Santo Tomas, where he was an artist of the Varsitarian (the official student paper whose staff artists across the decades have included National Artist J. Elizalde Navarro, Danilo Dalena, Remedios Boquiren, Teofilo Montifar, Carlos Trinidad and Mario de Rivera).
Zulueta’s archival career has captured the work-spaces of important artists, such as National Artists Bencab and Arturo Luz, the late Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, in photographs he has compiled into a book which will be launched soon.
Zulueta shows us a different side to his personality, one that, it is certain, will contribute to the larger narrative of Philippine visual arts.
“Viajes,” curated by Renato Habulan, opens on Feb. 21, at Galerie Francesca, 4/F, SM Megamall Building A, Mandaluyong City. Call 5709495; e-mail email@example.com.