Books & Art

León Gallery Brings Abstract Art to Art Fair Philippines 2021

See masterpieces from Jose Joya, Fernando Zobel, and more.
IMAGE LEON GALLERY
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Leon Gallery graces the aesthetic halls of Art Fair Philippines 2021 once again with abstract art from Vasarely, Albers, Diez, Zobel, Aguinaldo, among others. The exhibit runs from Thursday, May 6, to Saturday, May 15. A virtual exhibition will be organized on the Art Fair Philippines website. A complementary exhibit will also be held at Leon Gallery International located at G/F Corinthian Plaza, 121 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City.

Featuring masterpieces from virtuosic geometric abstractionists, Léon Gallery brings Geometric Abstract Art to the limelight in the exhibition dubbed as “Elemental.” A potent selection of artists who expounded on the fundamentals through their straightforward pieces will adorn the exhibit. 

Among the renowned artists in the exhibition is Victor Vasarely (1906 – 1997). He was a Hungarian-French artist credited as the grandfather and pioneer of the Optical Art (Op Art) movement. Vasarely created exceptional art pieces and applied geometrical effects to convey motion within static forms. Through his geometric shapes and colorful graphics, he produced enthralling and compelling illusions of spatial depth, easily recognizable in the piece titled Mylla (50 1⁄2” x 71 1⁄2”, acrylic on canvas, signed and dated 1956-87 lower right). 

'Mylla' by Victor Vasarely

Photo by Leon Gallery.
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Art pieces of Venezuelan kinetic artist Carlos Cruz-Diez (1923 – 2019) will also be on display: Induction Chromatique Jorge Antonio B (23 1⁄2” x 23 1⁄2”, chromography on paper on aluminum sheets, signed and dated 2011 verso), Physichromie 219 (12.2” x 24” x 3”, mixed media on wood, signed and dated 1966 verso), and Physichromie 1412 (23 1⁄2” x 47 1⁄4”, chromography on paper on aluminum sheets, signed and dated 2005 verso). 

'Physichromie' by Carlos Cruz-Diez

Photo by Leon Gallery.


The works of Cruz-Diez emphasize the kinetic energy of hues. The Physichromie series, coined from combining the phrase ‘physical chromatism,’ encapsulates extreme abstraction: strips of red, green, and white cardboard inserted in a frame, sometimes forming geometric shapes with no traces of a recognizable subject. His works are generally based on the moiré effect, in which lines of contrasting color give the impression of movement. 

In the local art scene, works by Fernando Zobel, Jose Joya, Lee Aguinaldo, and Florencio Concepcion will also be exhibited. These artists undoubtedly demonstrated that Filipino artists are more than capable of adapting the tenets of geometric abstraction into the Philippine context. 

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The paintings of Zobel (1924 – 1984) can be described as orderly and serene. As evident in Dos de Mayo III (40” x 32”, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1984 lower right), his brushstrokes cut across the surface of the canvas, bringing a third, virtual dimension to it and seemingly breathing it to life. As stated by Antonio Magaz-Sangro, Zobel makes modifications to the nature of the surface of the canvas, “transfiguring it through the orientation and uneven distribution of strokes on a field of violent tensions, strokes on which he bestows an intense dynamic suggestiveness.” 

'Dos de Mayo III' by Fernando Zobel

Photo by Leon Gallery.

Landscape (30” x 48”, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1965 lower right) by National Artist for Visual Arts Jose Joya (1931 – 1995) is an exemplary proof of his designation as one of the country’s foremost abstractionists. Foreign influences were stripped off from his works thereby creating an authentic abstraction in the local context. In the words of Leonidas V. Benesa, “it was Joya who was to give “pure painting” a local habitation and name, his own.” He adopted the principles of kineticism and fluidity in his paintings which became significant artistic values in Philippine art. 

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'Landscape' by Jose Joya

Photo by Leon Gallery.

Recognized for his gestural, minimalist hard-edged, and color field paintings, Lee Aguinaldo (1933 – 2007) revitalized abstraction in the local setting. An untitled artwork from the 70s (45” x 54”, aqua-tec (acrylic) on marine plywood, signed and dated 1978 verso) shows his penchant for hard-edged, glass-surface acrylic series. His Drawing in Oils (23” x 35”, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1959 verso) was an early work that was a manifestation of his burgeoning artistry at that point in time. 

Untitled Artwork by Lee Aguinaldo

Photo by Leon Gallery.
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Three creations of acclaimed academic and art educator Florencio Concepcion (1933 – 2006): Untitled (44” x 59 1⁄2”, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1962 upper left), Untitled (59” x 70”, oil on canvas, signed and dated 2002 lower left), and Homage to the Seer (Diptych) (36” x 72”, oil on canvas, signed and dated 2004 lower left) are also to be expected in the exhibition. Concepcion employed a calming spectrum of hues and refined strokes in his artworks that have become his trademark. His mastery of color is shown through the harmonies that are produced by the intermingling of hues in his canvas. 

'Homage to the Seer' by Florencio Concepcion

Photo by Leon Gallery.

Other artists whose resplendent art works will be exhibited include Nena Saguil, Lao Lianben, Bernando Pacquing, Norberto Carating, Jesús Rafael Soto, Romulo Olazo, and Josef Albers. 


The 2021 edition of Art Fair Philippines will run from 6 to 15 May. To book an appointment to see the paintings at the gallery and for further inquiries, contact (02) 88562781 and +6399855172010 or email [email protected].com

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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