Words by Cid Reyes. Images courtesy of ArtistSpace.
EQUILIBRIUM is a father-and-daughter exhibition of Filipino visual artists, Ed Uygongco and Jo Uygongco. It will be on view from 16 to 29 June 2022 at the ArtistSpace.
Both self-taught artists, Ed Uygongco and Jo Uygongco are presenting a touching father-and-daughter exhibition, fittingly entitled Equilibrium. As the term implies, the exhibition is a balancing of forces, a struggle between the two modes of visual expression–representation and abstraction-the yin-and-yang, as it were, of artmaking.
Each at the opposite end of the spectrum, they are perceived historically to be in a state of perpetual tension: representation depicts the physical, state of perpetual conflict: representation depicts the physical, visible world, while abstraction is a denial of it, relying solely on the elements of line, color, shape, and form.
The Uygongcos both favor the water-based mediums of aquarelle and acrylic. The essential catalyzing agent, water implies a condition of immersion in the subject or image, modulating the nuances of color, with its brood, floating, or flooding quality. Interestingly, the works in the exhibition all possess a meditative impulse and respond to the viewer’s investment in the extensive at each piece so much is lost in the passing, inattentive glance.
Distinctly oriental in subject and mood, works such as Moonlit Valley, A New Sunrise, A Cold Stillness, and Sea of Clouds embody the “Six Principles” of ancient Chinese painting: spiritual resonance, structural use of the brush, proper representation of objects, good composition, and transmission of the old masters by copying them. The act of copying refers to the acolytes of the Chinese masters then, not dissimilar from art students now asked to copy Roman statuary, but in contemporary times, where identity is central to the modern psyche, one acknowledges the Chinese masters as seminal influences. In the works mentioned, the central image, is the mountain top shrouded in mist Perspective, of course, is not based on the Renaissance view of the world, as seen from an open window. From the looks of it, Ed Uygongco himself would feel at home in the mountain top, in silence and solitude, communing with nature. Now a nonagenarian, Ed has seen enough of the material world and has gained the wisdom to see beyond the pleasures and vanities, the troubles and terrors of our earthly existence, having withstood them all in his long, blessed life.
Like her father’s works which are relatively small in scale–indeed, 30 x 40 cm is a typical size – Jo Uygongco does not let size of paper be a hindrance. In the instance of Ed Uygongco, the limited size is used to its advantage as an evocation of the work’s intimacy and privacy, as if it were meant to be seen by only one pair of eyes, at a time, the same miniature scale can truly be a deterrent to the nature of abstraction. Jo encourages the watery pigment’s flow into expanding plastically until it captures the visual resonance, fullness and pitch of her theme or subject. Her Butterfly works are shimmering veils that seems to flutter subtly, delicately, in the breeze. More interestingly, Jo’s Tidal Waves, Tidal Moods, and Tidal Pool tantalizingly parallel her father’s Raging Water, and Mighty Waters.
In Equilibrium, Ed Uygongco and Jo Uygongco sally forth under the impetus of their individual aesthetic needs, implying a delicate balance, without withholding one’s personal temperament in order to accommodate the other, or to avoid artistic discord. After all, the search for one’s reality is struggle enough, and the course of the dual journey–father together with daughter – is meaning and joy enough.
About the Artists
Ed Uygongco (b. 1930) was born in Iloilo City, and married with three children. He studied Architectural Rendering at the Mapua Institute of Technology Manila after secondary education at San Agustin College Iloilo City. He retired from the business world after working for fifty years.
Ed is a self-taught artist, favoring landscape painting using watercolor, gouache, acrylic and pen and ink. His works are influenced by Zoltan Sabo and Joe Garcia. He travels extensively throughout Asia and Europe which inspires his landscape sceneries. He has had three solo exhibitions, and a member of Fabriano in Aquarello and International Watercolor Society-Global. He has exhibited with them worldwide.
Jo Uygongco (b. 1968), the eldest child of Ed Uygongco, grew up doodling on scratch papers laying around. Her artistic streak was influenced by her father. It wasn’t until 2014, when she chanced upon an art class inside a mall, that she picked up the paintbrush, and she hasn’t stopped since. Her teacher, Eileen Bondoc-Escueta, introduced her to various mediums, which she readily explored as quickly as she could, as if making up for lost time. Watercolor, Chinese brush painting, acrylic, and pastel painting are her current palette.
Over the recent years, Jo has ventured into more intuitive art forms, choosing to be less in control and to just go with the FLOW. These days, the character of her art has transformed and so has the nature of Jo, the artist. Jo has had paintings juried in Fabriano in Acquarello, Italy; IWS biennale exhibitions in the past seven years in Hong Kong, Albania, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Nepal; and the IWS-Philippines Watercolor Convention and Exhibition in GSIS Museo ng Sining. Jo has participated in twenty-eight group exhibitions since 2015, and conducts an intuitive art workshop entitled, “Flow – more than an art workshop”.
EQUILIBRIUM will be on view from 16 to 29 June 2022 at the ArtistSpace located at Ground Level, Ayala Museum Annex, Makati Avenue corner De La Rosa Street, Greenbelt Park, Makati City. The gallery is open daily from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Admission is free.
For queries on the exhibition, you may contact Quattro Uno Art Innovate Creatives at +63 917 811 0827 or firstname.lastname@example.org.