BY: PRISTINE L. DE LEON
Olazo one-man exhibit by Paseo Gallery at the Art Fair Philippines 2019
Stepping back to view an abstract painting by Romulo Olazo is like pausing for a moment to take in an open landscape. Like rolling fields, Olazo's images offers vastness, in which every form, every sweep of radiant color appears inflected by light. One imagines the impressionists who would paint landscapes "en plein air" in order to catch the fleeting effect of light on color. Like their rendition of scenes, Olazo's works also hint at the idea of that painting, at its core, is an act of catching light.
The exhibition encompasses a wide range of techniques and mediums that inform one another. From a virtuoso piece - a large-scale painting which is representative of his acclaimed Diaphanous series - the show moves to smaller symphonies: ink-and-brush compositions, drawings of female nudes, monoprints, serigraphs and calligraphs. Olazo’s practice may have been shaped by his reverence for light and largeness, yet these works on paper draw attention to small moments and small spaces of activity. While the makings of monumental canvases requires the artist’s body to move around, there is intimacy in viewing his marks on paper. These hardly-been-shown, decidedly smaller works recall the artist sitting, drawing on tables, conceiving, seizing form, and allowing himself to be led by gestures. They become studies in formal play and free imagination.
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