“Untitled No. 221” 1989
Mixed media on canvas. 147.32 x 223.52 cm; 58 x 88 in Jose and Vicky Zubiri
“Untitled B-CLXXX” undated
Mixed media on canvas. 121.92 x 152.4 cm; 48 x 60 in AZOOL, Inc.
Bold, broad swathes of pure black pigment, sliding upon the surface and space, and colliding in a salvo of angular intersection. The volume of drama and gravity in black is incomparable. With the assurance of a sumi-e master, Olazo hurls thunderbolts of darkness.
In these works colors play a secondary role: a chromatic chorus to the black aria.
Olazo played transparency versus opacity. In some works, the shrill, red acerbic oranges, deep Parisian blues and greens jostled for space. In this spatial tension and conflict, the Diaphanous screens are nearly obliterated, indeed sinking back almost obligingly, recoiling from the cacophony of deep-hued, electric colors. These canvases become metaphors for art history’s contradictory, anarchistic expressions that undermine each other’s animating spirit.
Clearly, the Untitled works, by their sheer appellation, constituted Olazo’s experimental stage. The Diaphanous, after all, had already been cast as the artist’s classic image. It needed, as it were, some ruffling of feathers: a reinvention, a burnishing, a haunting, even a desecration. Olazo had to confront the dilemma of the Diaphanous: after more than three decades did he sense the fatigue of so much perfection? Was it an aesthetic estrangement? He decided to take it to a new dimension, a higher ether. The Untitled works are Olazo’s cathartic records of that wrestling convulsion. Some regarded the Untitled works as a betrayal of the Diaphanous. Others viewed them as a resuscitation of a flagging theme. Still, to some, Olazo was perceived as an artist in transition.
- CID REYES / EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK: ROMULO OLAZO