Thursday, February 10, 2011

Collecting Sculptres in a Modern Philippines

I've been collecting artworks since my high school days, and I can honestly say that much of the collector population thinks of financial investment at least 60% of the time.. The world of art has been appraised and made to secondarily function as a mini-stock market sometimes, and while many artists and longtime patrons would consider themselves immune to this way of thinking, the average man isn't. When it comes to fine art, there are always other things in mind, aside from aesthetics.

Modern sculpture in the Philippines is a fairly emerging art. Despite the country being home to several thousands of visual artists, the art form of painting has always been the most popular to date. Sculpture has only seen recent re-popularization in the middle class art markets due to the emerging artists that cultivated it despite the advice from the entire community. One fascinating sculptor who's caught my eye is Michael Cacnio, who won the 2006 TOYM Award. He's a social realist and a very impressive brass sculptor in the Philippines, but doesn't come from the same generation as the traditionalist artists. His modern interpretations of Philippine society impressed an international audience with their detail and style.

Another good example would be the artists of the Artasia Fine Art Gallery in SM Megamall. Seb Chua, Noy Gepte and Kylo Chua, started sculpting a little less than a decade ago when no one else (aside from top brass) would go near it in fear of zero sales. The newly formed troupe made their way to the top of the field by garnering several prestigious awards from the Art Association of the Philippines, the Shell National Art Competition and the GSIS Competition. These artists, along with 6 or 7 other friends decided to venture out and explore the world of cast sculpture and mixed media bit by bit. They eventually set up their own gallery at the SM Megamall building A's fourth floor. Throughout the many years that this troupe has been together, I've always considered them one of the best inspirations and hopes for the future of modern sculpture in the Philippines.

Another artist, Ronald Ventura, has grown his fair share of followers over the last few years. His works are definitely deep in theme, and have made their way across international borders to exhibit with different localities around the world. He's also represented the Philippines and southeast Asia during his solo show at the Tyler Rollins Fine Art Gallery in New York city a few years back. Ventura is another prime example of Filipino evolving sculpture. Since his first one-man exhibit “All Souls Day” in 2001, he's set up several distinguished shows and gained the respect of the art world as a modern sculptor. 

Other Philippine sculptors that you may already know, are still very much present in the art scene. The beautiful glass creations of Ramon Orlina make themselves known at every art fair and nationwide exhibit I go to. I've always wondered about this man's curious style of portraying abstract and human beauty through his carving of glass blocks. Needless to say, his status is already that of a master when it comes to technique and form, being honed for over a decade in a craft specialized only by his own two hands. Orlina gives a a new contemporary beauty to glass sculpture, and was recognized for it during several awards around Asia. His presence as one of the leading Filipino sculptor today is definitely a positive push for the future generations of artists.

Sculpture is now being considered top investable art as well, thanks to artists that have just made their mark in a scene overpopulated by painting. Today, the Philippine collectors of the old world are still beginning to show appreciation for such an artform, but the days of the traditionalists are inevitably fading away. A contemporary movement of young and modernist sculptors are ready to set foot on Philippine creativity.


Tess said...

came across of your blog site..thank you for your kind comments...more power. - mike cacnio

Gauri said...

Rightly said...! Collecting art and sculptures was only limited to a certain category of individuals who were deeply involved and understood the value of it.This blog of yours throws light on how sculptures are an important part of any country's history and how we can preserve them. By the way I would love to share with you about a Mumbai based auction house that is currently auctioning sculptures by known artists on Really its a must visit...

The lasting forest said...

I agree sculpture is quite a medium that goes beyond two dimensional painting and is rather moreover monumental in scale and longevity through time. :)

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