THOMASIAN Ronald Ventura took the art world by storm when his work “Grayground” sold for a whopping HK$8.4 million or P46.9 million, setting a new record for the highest bid in its category at Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings in Hong Kong last April.

Bidding for “Grayground” started at HK$ 300,000, and it finally settled in the hands of a phone bidder at HK$8.4 million or US$1.1 million, which which is 24 times more than its original “high” estimate.

Ventura made use of graphite, acrylic, and oil on canvas for his mixed-media oeuvre, which measures 60 x 155.75 inches.

The large piece depicts a battle raging onwards with stallions galloping and dust hovering about. Amid the grit and chaos are graffiti at random places on the canvas. The work is mostly monochromatic, aside from hints of crimson on the warriors’ lancets and a color spectrum protruding from the horses’ eyes.

Another Thomasian who made an astounding record in the Sotheby’s auction was Andres Barrioquinto. His artwork titled “Arms Around Your Love” was bought for HK$550,000 or P3 million. The painting measures 5 x 7 feet.

Barrioquinto’s painting illustrates a young oriental woman whose translucent face bears the image of a couple kissing passionately. Clutching the girl’s ear is a monkey, while exotic birds are seemingly perched on her shoulder.

Barrioquinto has been known for reinventing the portrait genre, which characterizes close-up painting of human subjects set against nature-themed backgrounds, often even including their face.

Ventura and Barrioquinto had their painting degree in 1993 and 2000, respectively. Ventura is the only UST student to receive the Benavidez award in 1990 and 1991. John Ernest F. Jose & Alyosha J. Robillos

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