SIXTEEN of UST’s most accomplished alumni artists gathered together for “The Distinguished ‘23,” an exhibition of Thomasian artist-awardees, which held an artists’ reception on Nov. 9 at the Artist Space of the Ayala Museum in Makati.

The exhibit featured 32 works from mainly second generation of UST modern artists.

The pioneering first generation of modern artists was led by UST Fine Arts School founder, National Artist Victorio Edades.

It was Edades who named the original Thirteen Moderns, many of whom became the pioneering faculty of UST Fine Arts, such as Galo Ocampo, Ricarte Puruganan, Bonifacio Cristobal, Diosdado Lorenzo, and National Artists Vicente Manansala and Carlos “Botong” Francisco.

Because Edades himself was the leader of the original Thirteen Moderns, UST became the cradle of modern art in the Philippines.

Edades and the original faculty of UST Fine Arts mentored the second generation of modern artists, such as the late National Artists J. Elizalde Navarro and Ang Kiukok, as well as those who took part in the Ayala Museum exhibit, such as Remedios Boquiren, Edgar Doctor, Fil Delacruz, and Raul Isidro.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, UST Atelier Alumni Association, Inc. President Marissa Pe-Yang said that aside from celebrating the alumni artist-awardees, the exhibit was also mounted to “make Thomasian art accessible.”

Among the works featured in the exhibit were Boquiren’s oil paintings of women, including “The Light To My Path,” a 17×17-in. work depicting a praying woman with light emanating from her chest and “Garden Lady,” a 16×16-in. portrait of a woman surrounded by flora.

Boquiren, a Fine Arts graduate and a former Varsitarian art director, said that Anita Magsaysay-Ho, one of the Thirteen Moderns, influenced her to feature women subjects in her portraits.

From left to right, Remy Boquiren’s ‘The Light to my Path,’ ‘Security Blanket,’ and ‘Garden Lady.’ (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/ The Varsitarian)

Richard Buxani, an Architecture graduate, pursued his flair for fantasy-inspired sculptures with his brass warrior sculptures, “Against All Odds,” a 29×23.5×24-in. piece, and “Defend,” an 18x16x10-in. piece.

Richard Buxani with his brass warrior sculpture, ‘Defend.’ (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/The Varsitarian)

Meanwhile, Fil Delacruz featured Philippine mythology in his works and used diwatas as his muse, a style that he said was drawn from his interaction with the Manobos of Mindanao, which opened his eyes to a different realm of spirituality.

Fil Delacruz’s ‘Laman ng Isip, Laman ng Dibdib’ (top left), ‘Diwata: Titik ng Himig’ (top right), ‘Diwata: Sa Alapaap’ (bottom left), and ‘Diwata: Dualidad’ (bottom right). (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/The Varsitarian)

Imaginative figurism was the main focus of Nemesio Miranda’s works on display, as he painted purely from imagination while still grounding the work on history and realities.

This was evident in his oil on canvas paintings like “Pag-aalay” and “Katuwang sa Hirap,” which depict a mother’s sacrifice and the Filipino culture bayanihan, respectively.

Nemi Miranda’s ‘Pag-aalay’ (left) and ‘Katuwang sa Hirap’ (right). (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/The Varsitarian)

Painting alumna Rosario Bitanga-Peralta used lines, space, and a variation of colors to depict a bird ascending to the sky in her 12×12-in. oil paintings titled “Sonnet Blue I” and “Sonnet Blue II” she put on exhibit at “The Distinguished ‘23.”

Rosario Bitanga-Peralta’s ‘Sonnet Blue I’ (bottom left) and ‘Sonnet Blue II’ (upper left) by. Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/The Varsitarian)

Another Painting graduate, Derrick Macutay, veered away from his usual large-scale mural paintings and explored instead smaller, mundane objects in making his 8×11.5-in. watercolor paintings, “Ysa’s Breakfast I” and “Ysa’s Breakfast II.”

Derrick Macutay’s ‘Ysa’s Breakfast I’ (bottom) and ‘Ysa’s Breakfast II’ (top). Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/The Varsitarian)

Willy Layug, a premier ecclesiastical sculptor, featured his 40x32x18-in. polychrome wood and brass sculpture titled “Martyrdom,” and a 99×58-in. oil painting on Narra wood titled “Tampisaw.”

“I am very fond of working with repurposed materials like the one I used in making ‘Tampisaw,’ said Layug, a Painting alumnus. “The [Narra wood] has already been used and thrown away, and I transformed it into another form of art.”

Willy Layug’s ‘Martyrdom.’ (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/The Varsitarian)

Anita del Rosario, who is known for her jewelry designs, showed her mastery in mixed media through her intricate manipulation of resin and brass to make “Bogart,” a 16x12x8.5-in. bear piece.

Anita del Rosario’s ‘Bogart.’ (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/The Varsitarian)

Meanwhile, Edgar Doctor featured two abstract paintings, 30×30-in. “Midnight” and 36×30-in. “Deep Blue,” in “The Distinguished ‘23” exhibit.

Edgar Doctor’s ‘Midnight’ (left) and ‘Deep Blue’ (right). (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/The Varsitarian)
Raul Isidro’s ‘Blue Field 2’ (left) and ‘Summerscape’ (right). (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/The Varsitarian)

Also featured in the exhibition were the works of modern sculptor Jose “Joe” Datuin, multimedia artist Jose Tence Ruiz, painter India dela Cruz, and painter-photojournalist-printmaker and former Varsitarian artist Jose “Pinggot” Zulueta.

The UST alumni artist exhibit also paid posthumous tribute to Antonio Austria and Justin Nuyda, whose works were displayed as well.

The exhibit was curated by Abe Orobia and Ayni Nuyda, themselves belonging to the third generation of UST modern artists.

“The Distinguished ‘23” exhibit ran from Nov. 8 to 21. With reports from Mikhail S. Orozco and Sofiah Shelimae J. Aldovino


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