In the Be­gin­ning

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In honor of Ar­turo Luz, the Na­tional Artist for Vis­ual Arts who turned 90 late last year, the Ayala Mu­seum presents “Ar­turo Luz: First Light” at its Third Floor Gal­leries. It is part of the mu­seum’s con­tin­u­ing “Im­ages of Na­tion” pro­gram, which fo­cuses on the works of Filipino artists con­ferred with the ti­tle of Na­tional Artist. As Luz, one of the pi­o­neers of the Philip­pine Neo-re­al­ist move­ment, marks his 60th year as a pro­fes­sional artist, it’s the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to catch a glimpse of his ear­lier works and look for the vis­ual clues that would in­flu­ence works from his later pe­riod. Cu­rated by his­to­rian and ed­u­ca­tor Dr. Am­beth R. Ocampo, “First Light” in­cludes the artist’s draw­ings from 1950s, where his de­sire for sim­plic­ity and vis­ual order was al­ready be­com­ing ev­i­dent. Works from this pe­riod in­clude a se­ries painted in 1952, de­pict­ing typ­i­cal scenes from Philip­pine daily life. The col­lec­tion pro­gresses to paint­ings from the 1960s, which are char­ac­ter­ized by muted col­ors, sim­ple lines and shapes, and reflect his fas­ci­na­tion with ar­chi­tec­ture —per­haps the style which most art afi­ciona­dos are fa­mil­iar with and ap­pre­ci­ate. Ac­cord­ing to the mu­seum, among the pieces that will be on dis­play are works from in­sti­tu­tional and pri­vate col­lec­tions which have never been ex­hib­ited to the pub­lic. Born on Novem­ber 26, 1926, Luz took up Fine Arts at the Univer­sity of Santo To­mas in Manila, and fur­thered his stud­ies at the Art School of the Brook­lyn Mu­seum in New York and the Académie de la Grande Chau­mière in Paris. By the mid 1950s, he was al­ready a cel­e­brated artist, named the “Out­stand­ing Young Man in Art” by the Manila Times in 1955, and cho­sen to rep­re­sent the coun­try at sev­eral art fes­ti­vals in Europe. Through the years, Luz has also proven to be a skilled print­maker, pho­tog­ra­pher, and sculp­tor; he also es­tab­lished the Luz Gallery (it closed in 2002) which in­spired and in­flu­enced many of his peers and later gen­er­a­tions of artists. On view un­til June 11; Makati Av­enue cor­ner De La Rosa Street, Greenbelt Park, Makati; 759.8288; hello@ay­ala­mu­seum.org; ay­ala­mu­seum.org.

Draw­inG tHE linE a self-por­trait by ar­turo luz (1950), from the col­lec­tion of Fer­nando and cather­ine Zo­bel de ayala.

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