The paintings on display at the ongoing exhibit at ARTablado in Robinsons Galleria are by an artist with a strong faith in a higher power. In fact, when asked who her favorite artist is, Marie Claire Olondriz chose God. “He’s the ultimate artist who created everything… matter, space, time, the entire universe.”
In the years that she has spent honing her painting style, she has come up with canvases awash in color and light. Some of them are of Marian images like Our Lady of Aranzazu and Our Lady Star of the Sea but there are also her floral paintings including a beautiful one of a magnolia flower in full bloom. Another theme is the Madonna and Child although the artist opts to leave their faces blank, inscrutable.
Unlike other painters who utilize both portrait and landscape, Marie Claire’s canvases are all vertical—even one that features a tiny cottage at the bottom of the frame, bluish mountains in the distance.
“I’ve been passionate about art since I was a child. I believe that art is in everything not just in drawing, but in how we do things every day. It’s how we dress, show love, talk, smile, and our dreams. It’s there in what we believe in and how we write. Even in small stuff like arranging things, cooking, and the words we use. Art is all around us,” Marie Claire said.
When she was younger, she would grab a sketch pad and her pencils and draw whatever caught her eye—sketching and coloring based on how she felt.
It taught her to be unafraid of color, of adhering too closely to what colors can be used for certain objects. “Sometimes, if someone asked me to draw something, I’d do it their way,” she said.
Marie Claire came up with her style of painting when she was confined in the hospital. She started out scribbling in her sketch pad which led to continuous circles that initially seemed directionless.
“Later, I expanded this to my paintings, using contrasting colors against the backdrop to create a textured look. What I enjoy is the sense of playfulness these scribbles bring to my art,” she said. “Amidst the sea of realist styles in my art group, mine feels unique. That’s why I began calling it ‘olondrizism,’ after my own name. It reflects my heart and soul when doing art.”
When the time came to pick a title for her ARTablado exhibit, she chose “Obra ni Maria Clara.”
Coming up with new paintings for the exhibit, however, took a while as she struggled with tennis elbow as well as carpal tunnel syndrome, the latter afflicting both hands.
“On top of that, fibromyalgia would give me pain every single day,” she recounted.
She took a break for a while and entertained thoughts she might not be able to meet the deadline. “Instead of having an operation, I tried therapy and kept trusting in God, believing He’d bless this exhibit somehow. I couldn’t let the doctors operate on my hands [because] that would mean no painting for over a month, or maybe even no more painting at all. But I held onto my faith, and after going through therapy and taking some rest, I managed to finish all the paintings I needed for the upcoming exhibit. It’s all thanks to God.”
The exhibit that runs until September 15 will highlight Marie Claire’s take on “the beauty of everyday life, of common things we seldom appreciate.”
The artist is grateful to Roseann Villegas, Corporate Public Relations Director of Robinsons Land Corporation for approaching her after spotting a painting Marie Claire had made for a group show. “It was like a dream come true. I felt overwhelmed. I thanked God because I knew deep down that this was a gift from Him.”
Established in 2020, Robinsons Land ARTablado, a portmanteau of “art” and “entablado” is Robinsons Land’s very own stage in showcasing the Filipino ingenuity and creativity. This platform allows emerging and established artists to freely express themselves through art and paves the way to greater recognition of their talent and hard work. To date, ARTablado has mounted numerous exhibitions and hosted over 400 artists.