The career of ROBERTO M.A. ROBLES (b. 1957) spans thirty years, during which time he has exhibited in the Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Australia, France, and the U.S.A. A Retrospective is an important milestone in an artist”s career – a time to look back over their work and give due credit, but more importantly, to define their place within art history. It is an honor granted to only few artists, and recognizes their immense contribution to the culture of a nation.
This retrospective titled, Saluysoy, which literally means “an eternal spring / where the stream starts in the Southern Tagalog dialect, captures the spirit of Roberto M.A.Robles” abstract sculptures and paintings and offers a point from which we too can grow in our appreciation of his unique language of abstraction. Showing at the Ateneo Art Gallery through 23 April 2011, the exhibition has been curated by the international art writer Gina Fairley, and has been organized in collaboration with Galleria Duemila, Inc.
The retrospective includes 80 artworks by this outstanding artist, from large outdoor sculptures to intimate assemblages from Robles” early career. What makes this exhibition different from most survey exhibitions is that one third of the artworks have never been exhibited publicly before. They are rare treasures from the artist”s archive shown for the first time by Ateneo Art Gallery, and broaden our understanding of this complex and mature artist.
The curator has designed the exhibition to take viewers on a journey – one that starts as a â€œSculpture Walkâ€� in the gardens surrounding the Rizal Library Special Collections Building, and then moves through the various genres of Robles art making, from his boxed assemblages that won him the prestigious Grand Prize for Mixed Media in the Art Association of the Philippines Open Art Competition in 1986, to his pure minimal paintings and sculptures often referred to as embracing a Zen aesthetic, to Robles” bright abstractions that excite through their playful use of color, gesture and material. It is a diverse and surprising journey. As the curator says, â€œThe exhibition leads viewers to a place where they can consider their own definitions of beauty and meditations on nature. It is both humbling and energizing.
Saluysoy promises to be an extremely sensitive and thought provoking exhibition.
What sets Roberto M.A Robles work apart from the many artists of his generation is his embrace of experimental techniques – to constantly search for new visual languages by using unconventional materials such as cardboard, thread and jute; in the blending of industrial painting with acrylic, oil and oriental ink washes or the notion of 3-dimensional drawing in his stone sculptures, deceivingly simple in their forms they are technically very difficult pieces, some taking up to a year to sculpt. Robles is a Master of many mediums with unbelievable focus.
Often perceived as raw or “unfinished”, the art of Roberto M.A Robles has a lot to teach us. He is probably one of the least understood artists of our times, despite inspiring a generation of younger artists. This exhibition offers an opportunity to unravel the enigma and to better understand the place he holds within the tenants of Philippine Abstraction.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue published with the assistance of Vibal Foundation. The opening reception will include a program of talks and performances of traditional Korean and Japanese musicians. All are welcome.
The Ateneo Art Gallery is located in the Second Level of Rizal Library Special Collections Building, Ateneo de Manila University, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
Gallery hours: 8am-7:30pm on weekdays | 8am-6:00pm on Saturdays.
For more information, please contact:
Ian Carlo Jaucian
Landline : +63 2 426 6488
Website : http://gallery.ateneo.edu/