The publication of a coffee table book, itself a museum without walls, devoted to the lifetime body of works by a single artist, is always a cause for celebration. For artist Edwin Wilwayco, it is an affirmation of all that he has worked for; for the reading public, it is an opportunity to view and appreciate the panoramic achievements of one of the country’s leading abstractionists.
It took more than four years for the Fatima University Gallery Foundation, Inc. to conceptualize and coordinate, and finally publish and launch the book simply entitled, Edwin Wilwayco. Authored by award-winning critic Cid Reyes, the book brings to fore the struggles of a young artist, early deciding that abstraction was the idiom through which he could best express himself, despite his facility and fluency in representational art. Absorbing the inevitable influences of his college mentors, and enlightened by the entire history of abstraction, from Wassily Kandinsky down to Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, Wilwayco synthesized, distilled, and drew, from his own experimental alchemy, his own trademark characteristics of brushstrokes, gestural marks, floral motifs, and vibrant chromatics.
The book also traces the progression of his many thematic series, each one a rich exploration of expressions reflective of local culture, nationalism, spirituality, the varying seasons, music, geometric symbolisms, and the mysterious gifts of nature. These are all manifested in harmonious but inexplicable array of designs and patterns. Down to his years of maturity and seniority, Wilwayco has never wavered from the restless enrichment of his vocabulary of form and color.
Lavishly arranged by Aman Santos, coordinated by Alec Ramos, with numerous photographs by Randy Rodriguez and Lovella Uy of Photoholict, culled from nearly a thousand works in different media, the book is distinct evidence of Wilwayco’s prolific production, proving that inspiration comes not from thin air, but from passion, determination, and commitment to the vocation which Wilwayco has dedicated his life to: painting.
The book is sold at Leon Gallery. A special exhibition of carefully selected works from each of Wilwayco’s series coincided with the book launch. It was held at Leon Gallery, G/F Eurovilla 1, Legazpi corner Rufino Sts., Legazpi Village, Makati City, from April 24 to 29.