Philippine Daily Inquirer / 03:59 AM January 21, 2013
Light affects visual arts in a number of profound ways. An artwork’s ability to work with light through techniques such as illumination and shadowing allows the viewer to evaluate the work.
Familiarity with the use of light is particularly nuanced when viewing works of sculpture, and the skill of an artist is tested by his ability to bend, reflect and refract light.
So it isn’t surprising that the likes of imminent master sculptors Ramon Orlina and Michael Cacnio are well-versed in the interplay between sculptural material and luminescence. When their new works are combined with and highlighted by the renowned abstract canvases of painter Carlo Magno, the resulting exhibition will be nothing short of breathtaking.
It is fitting then that these three artists open the recently renovated Galleria Nicolas (3/F, Art Space, Glorietta 4, Ayala Center, Makati City). The exhibition, “Lumina,” opens Jan. 24, 6:30 p.m.
Orlina can perhaps be regarded as the country’s foremost glass sculptor. His pioneering and multi-awarded practice of using glass to create both abstracted and figurative artworks is often heralded as unmatched by any artist, both here and abroad. His recent forays into other materials such as carved amber crystal underscores his absolute mastery of light.
His “Sunrise in El Nido” II is a myriad of lights bouncing and reflecting off the carved amber crystal in a myriad of ways, leaving the viewer transfixed as Orlina manages to convey the atmosphere of a sunrise over a fantastic destination spot like Palawan. The intrepid artist uses the material’s natural interaction with light and dominates its direction.
Cacnio’s bronze works show abstracted figurations and have an uncanny Filipiniana quality.
For “Lumina,” Cacnio delves into a completely new aspect of his practice— lighted sculptures that illuminate portions of the artwork, lending an ethereal quality to an already fascinating concept.
So we have works such as “Meditation,” with the meditating figure illuminated with a soft-blue light from within, suggesting he figure is close to reaching enlightenment.
Carlo Magno complements these two heavyweight sculptors with the characteristic abstractions that have seen him become one of the foremost abstractionists in the country. His casual yet complex familiarity with light and how it interacts with aspects of abstraction like color and lines only serves to prove his lofty place atop the pinnacle of Philippine contemporary visual art.