Looking at Edwin Wilwayco’s art, the viewer is immediately confronted with fluid yet punctuated strokes of thick paint elegantly encased within the canvas. Each pigment carefully sits on each other with an expressive gesture and a calculated randomness that only masters can successfully execute. These abstract paintings, like musical scores, send their audience into a tranquil, meditative state. The paintings are like music on the walls, moving lyrically from piece to piece.

In his 50’s, Wilwayco is an active and formidable name in the visual arts. For over three decades, his works have been consistently well-received locally and abroad, particularly in Germany, France, Singapore and the USA. His work was warmly received at his recent exhibitions in Europe, namely, the Estonian National Library in Tallin, the Lithuanian Art Museum in Vilnius, the Foreign Art Museum in Riga, Latvia, and the Ersta Skondal University College in Stockholm, held in September to October of this year.

Wilwayco first trained at the Continental School of Design Studies in Los Angeles. After a few years, he proceeded to the University of the Philippines where he trained under National Artist Jose Joya, who is also known for his strong and dramatic abstract paintings, and is considered the father of Abstract Expressionism in the Philippines. Wilwayco received a British Council Scholarship for painting in 1982, which he took up at West Surrey College of Art and Design at Farnham, England, and the Thirteen Artists Award of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1994.

Of Wilwayco’s work, noted art critic Cid Reyes has said: “The emanations of Wilwayco’s ardor and passion for nature (are) rooted in the landscape paradigm of so many abstractionists, from Hans Hoffman’s ‘I bring the landscape home with me’, and Joan Mitchell’s ‘I carry my landscapes around with me’, to Jackson Pollock, who thundered, ‘I am Nature!’ With such awesome forebears, (it is) no wonder that abstraction has become second nature to Edwin Wilwayco.”

Wilwayco is not one to thunder or dictate – far from it. He is a master observer, a virtuoso listener. So keenly is he attuned to the unseen stirrings of nature, that he will paint the same place with clearly different nuances because it speaks to him differently from one day to the next.

In spite of Wilwayco’s international success, this Novo Ecijano remains rooted in traditional Filipino and Christian values and principles. Ask him about his deepest source of inspiration, and he will probably say in a quiet voice what has been a favorite refrain of his for many years: “My sincerest praise and thanks to the source of all art – God.”

Written by Iris Ferrer

Images Courtesy of Galleria Duemila

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