Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The essence of a trinity is unity through differences. Within the Holy Trinity, for example, each side represents a distinct personality which, nevertheless, retains the wholeness of one Supreme Being. The idea is that, while a duopoly may naturally go against each other, a trinity complements.

Which makes Galerie Joaquin’s latest exhibition, Tri-Angular, intriguing. A three-man exhibition of artists with profound respect for each other, Raul Isidro, Justin Nuyda, and Daniel Dela Cruz, the artists’ individual practices are wholly dissimilar. While Daniel Dela Cruz is a figurative sculptor, Nuyda and Isidro are abstract painters. And within the realm of abstraction, Nuyda and Isidro themselves paint diversely in style and in concept. But together, in the setting of this unique exhibition, their practices blend and complement each other in dynamic and electrifying ways.

Combining the practices of three of the most storied artists in their field, Raul Isidro was among the first abstractionists to incorporate indigenous Philippine designs, symbols, and motifs in his paintings. His works are thus relatable and organic, while also highly-organized and carefully nuanced. His take on abstraction is often referred to as kinetic gesturalism, or “active painting” as one can see the way his hand gestures from the strokes on the canvas in a manner akin to National Artist Jose Joya.

24 x 24
Raul Isidro

Sentinels I
18 x 24
Raul Isidro

Justin Nuyda, on the other hand, possesses a career that spans more that forty years. The artist’s “Mindscape” series is particularly notable as a bellwether in the development in Philippine abstraction. A consummate amateur naturalist, he combines his expansive knowledge of butterflies and nature with a visual art practice that is both geometrically logical yet organic. His canvases flow with dynamism and energy -- a characteristic that suites the personal temperament of the artist himself.

Mindscape: Search Prospering Hues
48 x 36
Justin Nuyda

Mindscape: Search
24 x 36
Justin Nuyda

The two artists, Isidro and Nuyda are products of the University of Santo Tomas and are stalwarts of an exciting period of late Modernism, of the late 60s and early 70s. Both were referenced by art critic Amando Manalo, who wrote of artists who have contributed to the “richness and variety of contemporary Philippine painting at the time, including BenCab, Justin Nuyda, Rodolfo Samonte, Mars Galang, and Raul Isidro.”

Daniel Dela Cruz is of a later batch, graduating with a degree in Philosophy from the University of the Philippines in 1989. Following a successful career in product design, he decided to pursue his passion of sculpture and never looked back. Nowadays, his metal sculptures of feminine figures are the talk of the town. This juxtaposition of ideas -- feminine grace against the taciturnity of the metals that depict it -- is the foundation of which Daniel dela Cruz builds his practice on. It is also a subtle, gentle conceit in an otherwise aggressive medium.

Daniel dela Cruz. Photo courtesy of Nickie Wang/Without Wang² Blog.

A sculpture by Daniel dela Cruz.

These three artists combine to present a remarkable exhibition. Dela Cruz is at his best with works such as “Finding the Light” (brass, copper, nickel, and stainless steel). The arching form demonstrates his mastery of the female figure within the confines of his chosen medium. As if on the verge of flight, the piece conveys the feeling of breaking free. Raul Isidro’s “Sentinels I” exhibits abstraction’s ability to communicate complex ideas -- in this case, the abstract brush strokes of red, yellow, and orange against a stark grey backdrop brings to mind the idea of guarding nature. And nature, of course, is the jumping point of Justin Nuyda’s continuing “Mindscape: Search” series of abstract landscapes.

That the artists can combine their practices in unique exhibition shows that they are still active in pushing the boundaries of their careers, a fascinating proposition that will no doubt be of interest to an art community that has already placed these artists high in the pantheon of Philippine art.

For inquiries, please call 02 7239418, 02 7239253; mobile +63 917 5343942 or visit

Galerie Joaquin is located at 371 P. Guevarra St., cor Montessori Lane, Brgy. Addition Hills, San Juan City.

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