Masters of Modernism: Justin Nuyda (Mindscapes)

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Justin Nuyda is one of the storied figures in the history of Philippine art. Beyond his own thought-provoking oeuvre, Nuyda is an instigator of the collaboration and aesthetic development that defined the late Philippine Modernism period of the 1960s and 70s. He was one of the founders – together with National Artists H.R. Ocampo, Cesar Legaspi, and Alfredo Roces – of the iconic Saturday Group of Artists. Comparable with other prolific artist groups such as Eduouard Manet’s bohemes that met at the CafĂ© Guerboi in 19th century Paris and the tertulias of the La Punalada Group in Barcelona, or the Cedar Bar Group of New York in the 50s that had the likes of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko. The Saturday Group in the 1970s attracted an entire generation of eminent artists at Ermita’s Tazo de Oro Restaurant—aside from the founders, these included artists such as National Artists, Jose Joya and Ang Kiukok, Onib Olmedo, Agustin Goy, and Juvenal Sanso (whenever he was in town from Paris) as well as artists from diverse groups such as the Dimasalang Group, the Bulacan artists among others. The Saturday Group also appealed to writers and curators—including Lorna Montilla, Jolico Cuadra, Rod. Paras-Perez, and Leo Banesa. Justin Nuyda was right in the thick of this celebrated company.

Now new works from this legend in Philippine Modernism will be displayed at Galerie Joaquin’s Masters of Modernism: Justin Nuyda (Mindscapes). Opening on July 24, 7 pm at Galerie Joaquin’s Main Gallery in San Juan, the exhibition promises to be a much-anticipated survey of new works from the Master. A cerebral artist, Nuyda's concern is to explore and challenge the boundaries of the mind. He uses visual techniques, and vibrant colors to explore his vision of the landscapes of his mind.

Justin Nuyda graduated from the Fine Arts program of the University of Santo Tomas in 1966. With numerous awards to his name, he is notable for having won the first 13 Artist Award in 1972 (a distinction he shares with Angelito Antonio and Danilo Dalena) and for having won the Art Association of the Philippine’s Award in 1968 for his work, Search 39.

A Modernist heavyweight, Justin Nuyda builds on a career that spans more that forty years of prolific development. The artist’s “Mindscape” series is particularly notable as a bellwether in the development in Philippine abstraction. The consummate naturalist (Nuyda gained scientific prominence as a noted lepidopterist, or butterfly expert); he fuses his expansive knowledge of butterflies and nature with a visual art practice that is both geometrically logical yet organic. His canvases flow with dynamism and energy—a characteristic that suites the personal temperament of the artist himself.

With a critically and commercially distinguished career, Justin Nuyda presents this collection rightfully taking his place as one of the the Philippines’ Masters of Modernism.

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