A retrospective exhibition of the work of Constancio Bernardo (1913-2003) marks the artist’s centennial at Ayala Museum, celebrating the artist’s life and work as well as revisiting a critical gap in the history of Philippine abstraction, heretofore unaddressed with either depth or breadth.
Comprising a total of around 100 works, the exhibition provides the first opportunity to view the full range of Bernardo’s œuvre from a career span of more than sixty years and highlights his canvases of abstraction, lauded by a number of critics from the 1950s onward as among the most important examples of Philippine modernist painting but increasingly overlooked as the decades passed. While included in a number of group exhibitions and the subject of 22 solo exhibitions including retrospectives at U.P. Baguio in 1969, at the Museum of Philippine Art in 1978, and at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1990, Bernardo remains to be on the margins of the annals of Philippine art history. Dedicated to his lifelong art practice and his teaching career at the University of the Philippines, Bernardo staunchly resisted the limelight, eschewing the social scene of the art world and opting to work tirelessly in his studio.
Within abstraction, his paintings ranged from geometric abstraction to Op art and abstract expressionism—each series structured with a formal mastery and infused with a depth of feeling singularly his. Obdurate in his self-effacing silence in his lifetime, his body of work preserved by the Museo Bernardo Foundation Inc., and Constancio Ma. A. Bernardo Foundation prove to be the clearest evidence of enduring artistic expression.
The centennial retrospective also tracks the artist’s evolution and transitions, revealing Bernardo to be the consummate artist who was accomplished at both figuration and abstraction. Early in his career, Bernardo was identified by Fernando Amorsolo as the student at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts most likely to surpass the master himself. Upon being named the first Filipino Fulbright fellow in art in 1948, he continued his studies at Yale University and he spent his first two years honing his facility with classical drawing and painting techniques. A selection of around 12 works from the Yale years appears in this exhibition.
For more details, please call (63 2) 757-7117 to 21 or email: email@example.com
Makati Avenue corner De La Rosa St., Ayala Center
Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
Wednesday November 27, 2013 - Friday February 28, 2014
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