CIRCUIT boards, theater magic, and passion for painting were fused in Milmar Onal’s “VIsceneTY”, at Gallery Nicolas, Glorietta 4 in Makati City May 15 to 24.

A Painting graduate of the old College of Architecture and Fine Arts (CAFA), Onal has fused in the exhibit his many preoccupations: painter, actor, artistic director, production de-
signer, and a former electrical engineering major.

Onal shifted to fine arts from electrical engineering in 1994. By then, he was also
exploring the world on stage with his membership in Teatro Tomasino. Off campus, he had also worked with Gantimpala Theater.

“I tried to put all these elements–the things I’ve learned from engineering,
theater, and of course, painting–into my works for this exhibit,” Onal told the

The depiction of electric circuits in Onal’s paintings had been his “style” of
freehand painting. He debuted his first abstractions depicting circuit boards in the exhibit, “Greater Heights,” in August 2017.

“I try to put something new in every work, so I’m always changing my technique,” Onal said. “I think that’s what’s important for artists – to never stop

Although the works are abstract, they can also be figurative, “Imperial” showed the semblance of a mountain-range. This 36×48-inch acrylic piece was set to a warm
background of dark-orange.

Across that piece was “Emergence,” a 48×72-inch acrylic showing a landscape of buildings on the foreground and mountains on the background.

“Urbanization was one of my themes for this one, but I do rejoice if the
viewer sees something I didn’t (intend) here,” said Onal. “It’s one of the wonders
of abstraction.”

In the Philippines, a career in the arts “does not always bring home the bacon” as Onal recalled during his first few years after graduating.

This prompted Onal to work as a production designer and actor for GMA and ABS-CBN from 2005-2007.

“It’s every artist’s struggle, at least at one point in their life,” he said. “Also, I
already had a family by this time, so I had to set my priorities straight; that’s why I tried for a more commercial scene.”

But his passion for painting called him back. In 2007, Onal started joining
group exhibits, He also started showing his works at Artist-run Independent Arts Space and GSIS (Government Services Insurance System) Museum.


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