Ramon Orlina has won the respect and admiration of the art community in the Philippines for over thirty years with his magnificent glass sculptures in his signature green glass and lately in an assortment of colored glass such as azure blue, lime green and amber. Choosing to specialize in art pieces fashioned from this difficult and unusual medium, he has earned for himself a unique position in Philippine art.
Orlina has the distinction of being the pioneer in the use of glass as an artistic medium of expression in the Philippines. In the early years when the glass medium was treated as “decorative” by the art community, Orlina single-handedly struggled to achieve recognition for his glass sculptures. His tireless efforts bore fruit and he succeeded in elevating glass into a medium of fine art, now much admired at home and abroad. He was the only sculptor in the Philippines and in the whole ASEAN region to sculpt from large blocks of glass using the formidable cold method in the mid 70’s. Since then he has broken new ground for this medium and become a major influence on other Filipino artists who have also ventured into the glass medium.
As a totally self-taught artist, Orlina describes his work thus: “My medium, glass, is an endlessly intriguing material. This gives me a greater challenge to explore its possibilities. With no one to learn from here, I have had the freedom to create, no influences to follow from others and no standards to follow… I have to devise my own style that demands originality and improvisation”.
Orlina’s art record has not gone unnoticed, he has gained numerous national and international critical acclaim, respect from fellow artists, the media, and above all art enthusiasts. His reputation extends to art circles and patrons in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, U.S.A. and the former Czechoslovakia. Through his art he promotes Filipino cultural identity and Filipino originality and ingenuity. His most significant works in the country are his large-scale works which include “Oneness” which majestically stands at the ASEAN Park at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, a giant mural called “Paradise Gained” at the National Museum, and the “Risen Christ” at the EDSA Shrine.
At present, Orlina has found his way back to his beloved alma matter, the University of Santo Tomas where he finished Bachelor of Science in Architecture, and where he is working on “Tetraglobal”, an outdoor monumental work commissioned by the University for its 400th Anniversary in 2010, to be located at the Alumni Park. It is 8.6 meters tall in cast bronze with glass components. This celebratory project which pays homage to the University is a major challenge for the artist as the work is of such monumental proportions. It is expected to be completed in the year 2010.
For his exhibition at Alliance Française de Manille, Orlina presents once more his trademark pieces in green glass with their iridescent arches, perspectives and shapes, side by side with lustrous sculptures in cast bronze that he has newly created…two mediums that will indisputably captivate those who see them.
Ramon Orlina’s solo exhibition entitled “Glass and Bronze” opens on Thursday, June 18, 2009 at the Alliance Française de Manille’s Total Gallery.
Cocktails will be served at the artist’s reception at 6:30 pm. Exhibit runs until July 13, 2009.