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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ramon Orlina's "Quintessence" at the Ayala Museum (October 26 to November 9)

October 26 to November 9, 2006

Ramon Orlina has found splendor in the glass. Choosing to specialize in art pieces fashioned from this medium, he has made an inimitable niche for himself in Philippine art. His works in green glass have become his trademark—with shimmering curves, angles and contours that beguile those who see them.

Today, thirty years later, Orlina’s passion for glass has only grown stronger. This much is evident as he presents his exhibition entitled “Quintessence” to celebrate his thirty years in sculpture at the Museum Space on the 2nd floor of the Glass Wing of the Ayala Museum on Makati Avenue corner De la Rosa Street, Makati City. The show formally opens on October 26, 2006 at 6 pm & will run until November 9, 2006.

“Quintessence” is part of the Director’s Choice series in which Ayala Museum Director, Dr. Florina Capistrano Baker, annually chooses an artist that the institution will sponsor for an exhibit.

Curiously, Orlina celebrates three decades of his craft not by holding a retrospective of his works, but by presenting what else is possible in his chosen medium. “Quintessence” thus features new sculptures in glass in a mixture of colors such as green, amber and red, as well as those in pure black, and bronze. It also includes works combining glass with other materials such as stainless steel.

The exhibit will also present studies and a model for one of Orlina’s most recent commissions. “Tetraglobal” is an 8.6-meter structure cast in bronze and with glass elements that will be unveiled at the University of Santo Tomas, Orlina’s alma mater, when it celebrates its quadricentennial year in 2011.

Another highlight of “Quintessence” is a bronze piece cast from one of Orlina’s glass sculptures—an indication of his constant quest to push artistic boundaries.

“For me, it is still a continuous learning process. The artist’s role is to create. You have to develop new forms and present new ideas,” Orlina enthuses.

This attitude has served the artist well, especially in his early days as a glass sculptor. An architect by profession, he went into art full-time and selected glass as a medium because of his fascination with it as a construction material. In a unique set-up with Republic Glass, he was able to observe up close the making of glass right in the factory and to talk with the people involved in its development.

From the knowledge and expertise that he gained there, Orlina was eventually able to transform glass cullets—considered as industrial waste—into beautiful works of art using the “cold” method of cutting, grinding, and polishing. Because there were no glass artisans that he could learn from or train under, Orlina practically blazed the trail in carving glass in the country—thereby elevating what was regarded before as a “decorative” material into a high level of fine art.

Orlina’s glass creations have evolved through the years. He started with prismatic pieces, then developed organic forms, sculptures with holes, then ones with more texture, and still others incorporating a different range of materials.

“Glass is an endlessly intriguing material. This poses a greater challenge for me to explore its possibilities,” he declares. “”With no one to learn from here, no influences to follow and no standards to follow, I’ve had to devise my own style demanding originality and improvisation.”

As he marks his 30th year as a glass sculptor, Orlina is looking forward to more years still discovering the many potentials of his favored medium.

MuseumSpace, 2nd floor, Glass Wing
For detials, visit

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