In the hands of a master, glass becomes transcendent, a spectacle of wonder and profound beauty that invites dialogue and introspection.
Such is the gift that world-renowned Filipino glass sculptor Ramon Orlina shares through each of his creations in a prolific career that spans over four decades.
In “Brilliance” 2, Orlina returns to ManilART with a 17-piece compendium of signature pieces that showcases his unique aesthetic, evolved through many years of tireless experimentation with glass.
Curated by Gallery Big, the exhibit was recently previewed and we took note of Orlina’s aesthetic and aspirations, and the reasons why this global Filipino is truly one-of-a-kind.
From the beginning of his glass-art career in 1975, Orlina was a free spirit who eschewed scholarships abroad, opting instead for independent learning, trial-and-error, and ground-breaking experiments with glass residue. He is, in fact, a pioneer of the upcycling movement long before it became hip among millennial artists.
Glass is by no means an uncomplicated medium.
Orlina sculpts glass “in the cold,” laboriously carving through glass blocks in their solid states, spending countless hours, even months, working on a single creation. What seems to us as fragile and brittle are transformed into three-dimensional spectacles.
Playing with light
Orlina sculpts glass not only in terms of an envisioned final form. More significantly, he sees glass art as a dance with light, forever engaged in a conversation with its natural environment.
Metaphors of virtue
Orlina sculptures are always narratives imbued with aspirations of virtue and faith. The pieces are so named to stand as metaphors for the times. Here, Orlina speaks as the artist-patriarch—firm, well-meaning, instructive.
There is never a singular focal point in Orlina’s sculptures. This is an aesthetic of generosity that regards art audiences as comakers of meaning.
The best way to enjoy an Orlina sculpture is to move around it and see it from different vantage points, taking note of how its form and texture play with light. The experience then becomes interactive and multisensorial.
Orlina’s aesthetic of generosity extends beyond his pieces to a personal philosophy of sharing art and building communities. In 2013, he opened Museo Orlina in Tagaytay, a four-story complex with a majestic view of Taal Volcano.
The museum houses his works and art collection and has become not only a popular destination but an important arts and culture hub in the region. —CONTRIBUTED
“Brilliance 2” runs Oct. 12-15 at Booth C1, Gallery Big, ManilART 2017, SMX Convention Center, SM Aura Premiere. Call 7758888.