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The month of May is associated with summer, fiestas, and bright flowers in bloom. Summer optimism and hopefulness is festooned in a kaleidoscope of radiant colors—with many wonderful memories of Flores de Mayo festivals, santacruzan processions, and of course, the radiance of flowers. The blooming summer flowers, in particular, have inspired generations of artists to capture the warmth and cheerfulness of summer. In this light, Presidential Medal of Merit Awardee Juvenal Sanso, fresh of the critical success of his Moderno series of works, has been inspired to go back to basics, returning to the floral compositions that critics such as Rod. Paras-Perez and Alfredo Roces consistently point to as his as among his most elegant and significant creations.

Sanso’s vision of the floral still-lifes is brilliantly surreal, hauntingly gorgeous, and unlike anything else before it. Sanso’s floral series can trace its genesis to the artist’s renowned Black Period during the 1950s. Sanso used floral still-lifes as a way to excise the demons culled from his traumatic experiences of the Japanese Occupation of Manila during World War 2. The resulting works are high-quality grotesqueries, with monochrome works depicting bouquets of grimacing human heads. As Sanso learned to deal with the pain and suffering of war, these paintings eventually evolved—first through the introduction of brighter colors to what was once a monochromatic palette, then next his move from ‘figuration,’ i.e. grimacing faces, to ‘representational,’ such as the surreal ‘floating’ flowers we are now most familiar with. Sanso himself credits his conversation with an art teacher in Paris, Edouard Goerg, with the way he engages the floral still-life: “Professor Goerg must have felt my transformation, for one day, he said that I did my dramatic subject very well (coincidentally his type of work was very much like my expressionistic depictions), but he requested me to do a flower. Seeing my negative frown, he said: “do it your own way; I wish to see the other side of you.” Since the mid-fifties, I have not stopped doing flowers!”

A new exhibition not only brings us back to Sanso’s essential series of floral compositions, but places the Master’s works in the company of up-and-coming artists who also tackle floral still-lifes and compositions in unique and thrilling ways. Sanso’s return to the series he mastered coincides with his long-time support of the younger generation of visual artists—a passing of the torch to those he feels not only exhibit outstanding technique, and but also have the conceptual nous to combine it with the Expressionist sensibilities he is famous for. It is also in line his desire to put up a foundation to help the next generation of Masters fulfill their potential.

In FLEURS, FLORES, FLOWERS, the Presidential Medal of Merit Awardee is joined by three exceptional rising artists: Isabel Campa, Felix Tiglao, and Jovan Benito.

Hosted by Galerie Joaquin at the 2nd Floor Atrium of The Podium Mall, along ADB Avenue in Ortigas Center, Pasig City, the exhibition will be on display from May 13 to 19, 2013.
For more information on the show, please call (632) 723-9418 or view the works at
You can also visit Galerie Joaquin’s Podium Branch, located at the Lower Ground Level of The Podium Mall.

FLEURS, FLORES, FLOWERS is an important exhibition that the public is encouraged to attend. Not only does it feature Juvenal Sanso at his best, but also displays works of his protégés done in the very best expressionist tradition that Sanso is known for.

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